From "Candy Kids" to "Chemi-Kids": A Typology of Young Adults Who Attend Raves in the Midwest and Implications for Drug Prevention

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Although young people attending raves have been most visibly associated with the use of ecstasy and other “club drugs” in the United States, there is reason to believe that they are not a homogenous group in terms of their drug use practices. The purpose of this article is to begin developing a typology of young adult ecstasy users involved in the rave subculture–known as Ravers or Party Kids. The study is based on focus groups and qualitative interviews conducted between November 2001 and September

2003 with 36 current and former ecstasy users, aged 19–31, in central Ohio, as well as participant observation conducted in raves, clubs, and bars where “club drugs” are often used. Findings suggest the existence of five main subgroups in attendance at raves–Chemi-Kids, Candy Kids, non-affiliated Party Kids, Junglists, and Old School Ravers. These groups differ in regard to musical taste, philosophy, style of clothing worn, amount of time in the rave subculture, and most importantly, patterns of drug use. For example, while the use of ecstasy appears most common among Candy Kids, Junglists tend to be more involved with the use of ketamine and methamphetamine. The use of alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, and hallucinogens is also widespread in the rave subculture. The typology can aid in the development of communication strategies necessary for successful prevention activities among some categories of ecstasy users.



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