RAVES Party fan: The press plays up drug use

James Troutman said a rave is a 'big social gathering.'
CANFIELD -- Trout wants you to come to a rave, and he wants you to bring an open mind.
"It's not this orgy that gets painted in the media," he wrote in an Internet interview. "I really think people need to go see what goes on inside of them, not what they are told and mindlessly believe."
Raves are all-night dance parties typically characterized by booming techno music and some recreational drug use.
Maj. Michael Budd of the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department thinks "the drug Ecstasy goes hand in hand with any party that is a rave party."
Ecstasy is a so-called party drug with amphetaminelike and hallucinogenic properties.
Programmer, DJ: Trout, whose real name is James Troutman, is a 28-year-old database programmer who recently moved from Youngstown to Streetsboro.
He also is a part-time DJ and electronic musician, and he maintains an Internet calendar listing the time, date and location of raves taking place within a four-hour drive of Youngstown.
Troutman uses the stage name "Trout Soup," or "Trout" on the Internet and when he performs.
"I go to [raves] to see people I know from all over," he said. "There's a sense of community."
Troutman said he feels the press has exaggerated reports of date rapes and widespread use of designer drugs like Ecstasy at raves.
Yet Budd said that "any drug abuse concerns us." He said that he knows of only one confirmed rave that has taken place in the area during the past five years.
Troutman described a rave as a "big social gathering." He said that people come to a rave to listen to electronic music, dance and talk with their friends.
"You get to see people and friends from all over at one place," he said, adding that there are one or two raves in the Mahoning Valley each year.
Involved since '94: Troutman said he went to his first rave in Cleveland in 1994. He thought the rave would be like a concert for electronic musicians.
"It was really an eye opener. I wasn't fully prepared for it," he said. "Unlike a concert, where people just stand around, they were dancing, all over, moving around the venue, in groups talking."
Troutman stayed at the rave until dawn.
"It was great being able to go past 2 a.m. and not get kicked out due to some antiquated liquor law," he said.
He returned to Youngstown and began performing electronic music with his friends each week at the Cedar Lounge and Restaurant on Hazel Street. Troutman wrote that since 1994, he has attended hundreds of raves throughout the country.
Drug use: Over the years the amount of drug use at raves has increased, he said, adding that he feels the increase is a result of press reports stating that drugs are available at raves. Young people looking for drugs then come to the raves, creating a market for drug dealers, he explained.
Troutman added that he thinks most of the press reports were created by people who have never attended a rave.
"How can someone judge something they know nothing about?" he said.
Agent Greg McCoy of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency's Youngstown office said he had never attended a rave and, as a result, he did not want to discuss the parties at length. However, both McCoy and Budd said they would continue to watch for raves in the area.
"I think we owe it to the community to bring awareness that these things occur," Budd said.

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