SAYREVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Have you ever heard of a “glow party?”
As CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported Friday evening, the parties are popular among teenagers. But police said music and dancing is not all that is going on, and they have issued a warning to parents.
A heavily promoted “Hyperglow Party” had been planned for Saturday evening at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, N.J. But on Friday afternoon, the event was postponed and a new date was expected to be announced, according to a notice the event website.
The notice asked those who had purchased a $40 ticket to the event to hold their tickets, but refunds will be available if they cannot make the new date.
The notice said the event was canceled due to a “scheduling conflict,” but Acting Middlesex County, N.J. Prosecutor Andrew Carey said his investigators applied just enough pressure to stop the party from going ahead.
Teenagers know all about the massive parties that pulse and strobe, with crowds of teens in packed, cavernous spaces.
But too many parents are in the dark about the gatherings, which are billed as safe and alcohol-free.
“My sister’s 16 years old,” said David Gonzalez of Sayreville. “I wouldn’t want her going to a party like that.”
The glow parties are open to kids as young as 16, waving sticks that glow. And experts said the glow parties and glow sticks have a purpose the uninitiated might not catch onto.
“Glow or ‘Hyperglow’ is how it’s billed, because the kids that use the pills — they use the fluorescent glow-type sticks that enhance the effects of the drug,” Carey said.
As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, authorities said such parties often involve techno music and club drugs, such as MDMA or ecstasy in the form of “Molly.”
Angel Valente, executive director of the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey, said many parents may not know what actually goes on at the parties.
“Many parents actually drive their children to these parties, and I don’t think they really are aware of how accessible the drugs are at these events,” Valente said.
He also warned that predators often lurk at the events geared toward teens.
“Dealers that are looking to sell Molly are going to use these opportunities as a way in which they can distribute their drugs,” Valente said.
Experts say they lower inhibitions, can cause overdoses, and over time, cook the brain.
The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office warned that Molly is a hallucinogen and amphetamine that can produce a higher heart rate and blood pressure, and also a sense of euphoria that includes a feeling that everyone around the user is a close friend. That feeling can leave users vulnerable to harm, prosecutors said.
Furthermore, someone who is handed a pill sold as Molly may end up ingesting other dangerous chemicals without knowing it, prosecutors said.
Carey is on a mission to rid his area of the dangers of club drugs. Once the party was called off, the ballroom’s owners told party promoters who rented the space to handle refunds.
But not everyone agreed with the approach.
“I think people are overreacting,” said Justin Nowicki of Sayreville. “I don’t see the harm in it. It’s just like anything — you never know. Some people might find themselves in trouble.”
At the Starland Ballroom Friday night, the box office door was closed and locked. And while the website of for the Hyperglow event said it was postponed, police and parents would rather hear it is canceled altogether.
“I don’t think they should be brought back,” said John Mazzuchelli of Sayreville. “We protect our children.”
Carey said in a news release that the parties can involve not only drugs, but also sexual predators who can take advantage of minors. Valente added in the release that any event that points out it has an on-duty medical staff to treat any overdose quickly is not an event that parents should allow their children to attend.
And speaking to Carlin, Carey had a dire warning.
“The parents dropping their kids off at these venues better be prepared to pick them up at a precinct – police precinct, hospital, or perhaps morgue,” he said.
Carey promised his office will tirelessly track where these parties pop up. But he said it will take everyone to help dim this danger.
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