HeadLine: ARE WE ALL ON DRUGS? OF COURSE, DARLING … AREN’T YOU?
Daily Record, 19/07/1999, p12&13
by SHAUN MILNE in San Antonio
THE two Scots girls dance to the pumping beat, grinning at each other
in the wilting heat of the nightclub.
But it is no innocent scene of holiday fun, a little taste of freedom
away from home.
The girls’ smiles are Ecstasy-induced and this is the island of Ibiza, awash with the killer drug, where 30,000 Scots will end up in the next three weeks.
Yet the situation is passed off as high jinks by ABTA and “a vibrant
youth culture” by tour operators. Radio 1 will also conveniently ignore
it when they broadcast from Ibiza in two weeks.
For £8 a pill, bought from “some bloke”, Elizabeth Bunt, 26,
and best friend Vicky Whitehead, 23, swallow their way to oblivion.
The clerical workers from Dumfriesshire are badly dehydrated, their
pupils are massively dilated – they can barely speak. Elizabeth laughs
and rolls her eyes mockingly when asked if she is on drugs.
She says: “Why, of course, darling. Aren’t you? Everybody is. I’m all
loved-up on E and so’s my friend here. I shouldn’t be telling you but I
“I don’t know who sold me it. But I’m glad. I love this place. I love
feeling this way and I don’t care if it is a bit dangerous.”
Ecstacy seems like everybody’s best friend on this 12-mile strip of
sand and rock in the Mediterranean.
Last year, the health authorities on Ibiza said they could not cope
with the number of Britons being admitted to hospital because of drugs.
They dealt with 260 cases ranging from overdoses to withdrawal
A further 500 young people were admitted to accident and emergency
after being injured through drink or drug-related incidents.
Drugs are big business, almost part of the local economy.
Police on the island seized 7000 Ecstasy tablets last year – just
five per cent of the total they believe were available.
Nine out of 10 of those arrested for drug offences are British, facing fines of £2000 and up to three months jail.
Many think the penalties are too lax and some pushers believe the
risk to be worth it, with gains of £1000 a night possible.
The effects of their trade are plain to see.
Nostradamus predicted that in the event of a holocaust, the only
place to survive unscathed would be Ibiza. It could be said the
tourists here would be so out of it that they would not notice.
Many who come here are seasoned drug users, others are just children.
Drugs are openly on sale both inside and outside the clubs. Within an
hour of going out into the street, you are routinely offered a variety
Tens of thousands of Scots head here every year and the annual
pilgrimage begins with the Glasgow Fair weekend.
The sunseekers go for the super clubs like Godskitchen and Manumission. They charge a minimum £25 entry and £6 for a small bottle of water.
As well as the drugs, there are other equally indigenous cultures –
drink, sex and an undercurrent of violence.
The heat remains despite night arriving and bodies greedily gulp down
the free shots of vodka as fast as they can be poured.
No one bats an eyelid as yet another bottle is hurled against a wall.
Bare-breasted women on stilts and drag queens and dwarfs make their
way through the masses, advertising clubs.
Uniformed police keep a discrete presence in doorways ready to leap
into action with rubber batons should trouble break out.
At the Highlander Bar, a Scots theme pub, drugged women try to lift
the kilts of three men from Edinburgh.
Greg McCauley, 25, is an architect, Andrew Grieve, 24, a heating
engineer, and Stuart Young, 22, an accountant. They all share the same
Greg says: “Drinking is the only drug we need, that and snogging
He reels off a tale about how he slept with a stranger the night
before and says: “There are plenty more. This place is just hoaching
with them. I’m aiming for 14 notches on my bedpost.
“A different girl for every night.”
Stuart, clutching a bottle of beer in each hand, undecided which to
drink first, raises the stakes and slurs: “I’m going for 20.”
He adds: “Don’t say that – my mum might read this.”
Andy boasts: “We’ve not stopped drinking in 48 hours.
“We’re going to Manumission and Twos so we can see the sex show. It’s
sleazy but that’s just what Ibiza’s all about.”
It was the shameful behaviour of tourists which resulted in the
British Vice- Consul to Ibiza handing in his resignation last year.
Michael Burkitt, 51, said the island was “out of control”. The
authorities have tried to respond in an effort to head off criticism.
Local politicians have warned tour companies they will be forced to
foot the bill for damage.
But that would be a drop in the ocean of their profits.
Police have also brought in a law banning groups of more than 30
young people from roaming the streets.But the tragedy of this island is
that nothing is really changing.
So far this summer, 18 young British “pastilleros” – pill-pushers –
have been arrested on Ibiza.
The authorities have mounted a big crackdown on the main dealers.
A fortnight ago, Civil Guards swooped on three Britons – two youths
and a girl – and unearthed a stash of 5000 Ecstasy pills in a hillside
wood. It has become known as the pills in the hills investigation.
But the situation does notappear to concern some. A spokesman for
Club 18- 30, who take 40,000 people a year to the island, said:”Our
view is that San Antonio on Ibiza is little different to a number of holiday
destinations around the world, with a vibrant youth culture.”
An ABTA spokesman said: “They might be high spirited but we would
have the same behaviour anywhere in Britain. People know what to expect
when they go to Ibiza.”
Meanwhile, in a street on the island, a Scot lies on the ground, out
of his mind. He talks to himself and says: “It’s OK Chewbacca, we’ll be
Then this ambassador for Caledonia passes out. At 7.15am, the last of
the clubs have emptied out as the street cleaners leap into action.
But just six minutes later, speakers burst into life with yet more
techno music as the drug dealers plan another night of profit.
It seems there is no rest for the wicked.