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Read the DEA’s Guide to Raves

It’s descriptive.

(Photo: Christian Kadluba/CC BY-SA 2.0)

A version of this story originally appeared on

Last week, we wrote about the DEA’s files on Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin, the so-called “grandfather of ecstasy.” Included in the report is the agency’s guide to rave culture circa 2001, cobbled together from a one-day seminar on the subject taught by the “extremely knowledgeable” Sgt. ██████ …


…who immediately solidifies his credentials as a rave expert by explaining the difference between House and Garage.


Street cred firmly established, Sgt. ██████ then goes into a bit of rave history


…before revealing the secret, sinister purpose behind raves - selling bottled water at a sizeable markup.


Now that you know what a rave is, how do you find one? Well, you can use the internet….


Or you can just hang out around warehouses and look for the tell-tale sign of - you guessed it - water bottles.


Apparently the DEA counts Aquafina as drug paraphernalia. Who knew?

So just who are these ravers, anyway?

Well, according to the report, they are mask-clad topical cream enthusiasts …


…orally-fixated bracelet-decked head rub fiends …

…teenage mutant ninja aficionados …


…and, most close to home, sensible thirty-somethings who should probably cut down on their caffeine intake.


Now, to give the DEA some credit, they do at least manage to get the famous rave mantra (or as they call it, “motto”) correct…


…although that’s almost immediately undercut by reporting that Bay Area ravers are flocking to “Hot Topics” for their UFO pants needs.


From that point, the guide just sort of tapers off with a series of increasingly dubious factoids about festival drug use …


…ending with the stunning reveal of the true culprit behind this plot to corrupt our youth: amplified light.


Read the full report here.