Ecstasy

[Due to obvious reasons, a number of sources that I have been in contact for this story wish to remain anonymous, so in some places pseudonyms are used.]

After the death of 17-year-old Regane MacColl after taking an ecstasy pill at the Arches nightclub in Glasgow, the club took the bold move to ban all under 21s from all nightclub events. Furthermore to this the nightclub is also subject to a review at Glasgow City Council over it’s license’s future. Although it is unlikely to lose its license for more than a few weeks, if at all, the point remains that there is a massive culture in this country of ‘pill-heads’, and believe it or not, it’s not new.

It’s pretty much opened a huge metaphorical can of worms (again) though – and that hurt me more than you can imagine to use that pun, but there’s hardly a better way to describe the sweaty writhing bodies inhibiting the clubs in Scotland’s towns and cities.

So, to get a better idea of what the situation is in this country in terms of the ecstasy issue I posted on Facebook appealing for people involved in that scene, from either side of the argument, to get in touch. An influx of information hit me; not only with people voicing their opinions on the fact that the Arches has increased its entry age to 21, but people came forward with stories from within the drug culture through years.

The most in depth interview I collected served to put the drug culture in our country into historical context.  Adam (pseudonym) is a self-confessed ex-user of drugs like hash, pills and acid. Not only does he have the experience of these substances from around 20 years ago he, now, has a son who will soon be of age to go clubbing and therefore be exposed to this culture. He claimed he wouldn’t want to be hypocritical with his son and for that reason would like to see a change in attitude from the government when it comes to club drugs. When asked whether he thought the drug scene is any bigger now than back in 80s and 90s, he said that the biggest issue really isn’t the size, it’s more that the media has taken it for a ride, so it’s more apparent. Further to this, however, he thinks that what young people are consuming in clubs these days is more dangerous than what he was exposed to. Adam said, “The quality of the pills was good, they were expensive, £20 for one E and it would last you an entire night”

For this reason, maybe the logical solution is to introduce a regulatory system in this country, whereby, even if the drugs are illegal, testing kits should be readily available because no matter what line the government and police forces do there is still going to be consumption of these substances. The introduction of a system such as this would take a lot of heat off of the bouncers at clubs as there would be less situations where someone takes something sinister. Systems such as these are already in use in some of the big party islands such as Ibiza, so why not here?

When asked about the fact their children may be of age to go to these clubs they also gave startlingly similar answer both leaning towards wanting to avoid being a hypocrite by saying to their children they should avoid these substances, however also stressing the fact that the consumption of these drugs offered them admission into a whole new interesting culture that they admit has crafted them into the people they are today – be it through people they met or [places they got to experience being part of this scene.

However he was also – and urged they would be with their children – quick to stress that there are clear downsides to the culture. He has had friends that have been encapsulated by the negative side of the culture, some being admitted to mental institutions others being unable to cope with life. As Adam put it, “I guess it’s like crossing a road, it’s inherently dangerous, you can say don’t cross the road but that’s not going to work so you try to mitigate the risk.”

In speaking to a former Arches door-man, Lewis (pseudonym), I discovered a huge critic of the drug culture in this country. Being on the scene when the last (before Regane MacColl) death happened in the Arches, he has first -and experience of the sour effects of club drugs.

“I was one of the first on the scene and was treating him for over an hour before the ambulance came.

“In total, I think about 6 of us were giving him CPR and putting ice in his head to cool him down.

“I would rather every night club was shut down to stop stupid people (any age) being in a culture that kills them off.”

Although Lewis’ view is extreme, it gives an insight into how tragic the effect of these drugs can be. In my opinion, if the government was really serious about minimizing risk they should introduce their own regulatory system, where certain substances are legal and safer. Although that is wishful thinking.

 

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Search re-booted as third sighting revealed by officials.

Just as searches were losing momentum a third suspected sighting of the 239 passenger plane has been revealed. 

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As we see out the fifth day of searches for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 we can only find ourselves more in the dark at the days revelations. The plane which was headed towards Beijing had last certified contact at around 1.30am on Saturday morning, less than an hour after it set off from Malaysia, but a press conference earlier today divulged a possible sighting at 2.15am North of the coast of Thailand. This is the third point of contact which has been released and is causing a reverberation of questions to be felt across the globe – not least the families of those on board.

To further confusion, the second announced sighting was made by Malaysian air force chief, Rodzali Daud, who was said to have commented that MH370 had been detected at 2.40am close to Pulau Perak, an island in the strait of Malacca, geographically this doesn’t tie in with the other sightings. Daud has subsequently denied this claim which instantly raises alarm bells for those desperately grappling and trying to connect the dots.

Pressure put on officials is coming from all angles as China, home to more than half of those travelling the Boeing-777, urges Malaysia to send more aircrafts and ships to speed up the search. What had previously seemed to be a floundering search has in response to the days findings, more than doubled in size since Tuesday and now covers 27,000 square miles. This expansion comes with conflicting feeling however, as at this stage in a search and rescue with experts coming from so many angles – India today became the 12th country to join the search – we would expect to have a firm understanding of the route the plane had taken, instead of growing closer to an answer the possibilities are widening. 

Malaysian transportation minister Hishamuddin Bin Hussein has defended his government’s approach in response to criticism 

“We have been very consistent in the search,” he said.

Poignantly, the information that can be confirmed is the tranquility onboard suggested from the pilots reply to Malaysian air control just moments before it went missing, ”All right, roger that”.

For hundreds of families another sleepless night awaits.

Multimedia Reporting Experience

It’s been an interesting experience thus far in the Multimedia Reporting class, interlinked with Intro to Reporting 2 and Social Media, there have been a number of overlaps and similarities within the course.

The main trends that I’ve picked up from all the courses and in particular Multimedia reporting, because it emphasises all the aspects, is that to be a journalist in this climate it requires for you to be skilled as a writer. On top of that there has to be some sort of knowledge of all sorts of media outlets be it print, internet or broadcast (radio and TV).

On top of that it’s a case of being as pro-active as posible, this was drilled from day one with the introduction to Edinburgh’s wordpress site and an insistence that we write. Now. This has been a valuable expereience actually, because although I already had a blog at http://musingsbyseangordon.blogspot.co.uk/ it was an invitation to explore the blogosphere fro ma more professional point of view, and it was really emphasised that the use of blogs is in effect the creation of an online CV and a major selling point for ourselves. 

So with that from this course so far we have been left with a major tool, to sell ourselves, at our disposal for our own professional development in an industry where prostitution of our skills  are not only encouraged, but they are the life-blood.