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Congress right to hold owners responsible

Sept. 18, 2003

Staff editorial

In April, Congress passed the Illicit Anti-Drug Proliferation Act holding nightclub owners responsible for any drug sales or usage at an event. Since then, club promoters fear the law could put them out of business.

The Lariat agrees that club owners should be be charged if any drug usage takes place in their own business.

Due to heavy music and high energy levels, some dancers (the majority being teenagers under the age of 18) use drugs such as Ecstasy to get a boost and even feel the effects of hallucinations. These doses can lead to serious, damaging side effects or even death. This does not include the number of makeshift chemicals sold to imitate Ecstasy which lead to unknown and sometimes more serious effects.

Many nightclub owners let these illegal drugs be sold openly at their business's entrance, yet do not take responsibility for the deaths that happen in a situation. Due to this new act, nightclub owners are forced to regulate more events in their business in order to stay out of jail. Legislators hope this self-regulation will lead to such businesses refusing the sale or use of illegal drugs on their premises.

The act is similar to Senate Bill 55 passed by Texas legislation in 1997 holding gas station owners responsible for selling cigarettes to minors. Due to that bill, gas stations across the state have made more of a point to check IDs leading to a decreased tobacco usage among minors. We hope this act will see the same results in clubs.

Although we believe targeting rave clubs seems unfair and can be labeled as music profiling, it is important to remember that many illicit drugs are sold and taken at clubs. This is one step to the heavy enforcement needed to prevent drug usage at early ages.

What happen within someone's business must be made aware to him or her and that person should take responsibility for allowing their patrons to sell and consume illegal drugs.