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LA County says Ecstasy flyer needs revision

February 9, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The flyers warned about the dangers of Ecstasy. But it also advised rave-goers who planned to take it, to take low doses, which drew sharp criticism.

At the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors many people are upset about the flyer, which has seven tips to safely take Ecstasy, with the 8th tip to completely stay away from the drug.

In YouTube ads there are images of pure joy last year. The Electric Daisy Carnival is perhaps the biggest rave in the nation.

But more than 100 people were hospitalized, including the death of 15-year-old Sasha Rodriguez from a drug overdose.

"We plan on it being our last," said Insomniac Events owner Pasquale Rotella. Insomniac is the sponsor of the Electric Daisy Carnival.

Last week organizers convinced the Coliseum Commission to keep the party going this year, but with extra safety precautions.

Among them is a flyer designed by L.A. County Health Department explaining how to minimize potential harms from Ecstasy.

"I thought it was stupid," said L.A. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich. "You have a public health department telling people how to use illegal drugs without harming your health. And that's an oxymoron."

The card, which will be paid for by event organizers, instructs those using ecstasy to take frequent breaks, to stay hydrated, and to not mix it with alcohol.

"Thinking you can teach kids how to use something that is dangerous and deadly and illegal," said certified addiction specialist Cary Quashen from Action Family Counseling. He believes it's the wrong message. "That's crazy. It's not going to work."

"Based upon feedback from board members, public health is immediately revising the card to further and more emphatically state that illegal drug use is dangerous," said Los Angeles County in a statement.

All who enter this year's rave will receive a card, which is drawing strong reactions from Angelinos.

"I think it kind of encourages, it's encouraging," said Valencia resident Vera Babb.

"You shouldn't be encouraging them to have the drugs in the first place," said Robert Renner from Manhattan Beach.

"There needs to be stuff like this," said South L.A. resident Andrew Hornblower. "Because a lot of people don't know how to practice Ecstasy safely."

Meantime, conflict of interest allegations involving an official of the Coliseum have renewed the controversy surrounding the upcoming rave event.

According to promoters, the Electric Daisy Carnival will return to the Coliseum in June, but at least one Coliseum commissioner says it's not a done deal.

Commissioner Rick Caruso is still fighting to have the event canceled and he says new conflict of interest allegations against the coliseum director have strengthened his argument.

Caruso said he was outraged to learn that the coliseum's executive director, Pat Lynch, knew that his assistant general manager, Todd Destefano, was working for Insomniac Productions two months before last year's event.