It’s a topic that comes up quite frequently, and often not because anything is done about it – and that’s the problem.
12 years ago, current Vice President Joe Biden – then a Senator – drafted the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act, later renamed the RAVE Act. The bill gives the federal government the right to fine organizations up to $250,000 for “intentionally profiting” from the use of drugs at private or public events and gatherings.
The faulty and vague wording has effectively frightened off most major music festivals in America, the penalty for its breach being far too costly to ignore. In a recent article published in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Jason Henry describes the various effects the RAVE Act has had on both individuals and larger promotion companies since its establishment.
He describes the stories of Shelley Goldsmith, Tracey Nguyen, Katie Dix, and Beau Brooks: all victims of drug overdoses at recent dance music events in the nation. A common theme of misinformation and lack of proper drug safety efforts at the parties holds common within each of their cases, one that parents and relatives say could have been prevented had promoters conquered their fears of the RAVE Act’s potential consequences. Dede Goldsmith, Shelley’s mother and avid representative of Amend the RAVE Act, described the bill as follows.
It’s a bad law, it’s preventing public safety measures that are just common sense things that we ought to do.
Currently Mrs. Goldsmith is lobbying for these measures with the help of Dance Safe and its founder Emanuel Sferios. Together, they hope to convince agencies such as the DEA to understand the benefits of drug safety programs at music festivals, and to support the efforts of companies like Dance Safe rather than force the events’ promoters to shoulder the blame.
Pasquale Rotella and Insomniac have stopped working with Dance Safe at their Electric Daisy Carnival stops due to advisement from their insurance brokers and lawyers, says executive director of the service Missi Woolridge. Mr. Rotella commented on the decision:
It’s already hard enough to find venues where I can organize events. Unfortunately, some people view partnering with DanceSafe as endorsing drug use rather than keeping people safe, and that can prevent producers from getting locations and organizing events.
At the end of it all, organizations opposing the RAVE act believe that benefits of education and concern for human safety must always trump the fears of the outdated and unclear bill. If the largest promoters in the country worry about the financial consequences enough to halt the input of appropriate harm prevention facilities, action clearly needs to be taken.
H/T: Redlands Daily Facts