THE BLOG

Ibiza Isn't Just About Drugs

01/05/2015 16:39 BST | Updated 29/06/2015 10:59 BST

Every year Ibiza attracts over two million British tourists eager to ditch the grey weather and squeeze into tight one-piece swimsuits (that must've shrunk in the wash) for another season on the island that rarely sleeps.

Most people assume a trip to Ibiza means a week of soldiering from party to party, camouflaging black bags under your eyes with concealer and knocking back vodka Red Bulls until you can't take anymore, finally retreating to spend your comedown in a very dark room with the aircon on full blast. 90 per cent of your holiday photos involve you wearing sunglasses and grasping onto strangers with a bemused, wonky grin on your face, and constantly ignoring calls from mum and dad who just want to ask if you're having a "nice time".

This isn't the case. Not for most of us anyway. The 'Ibiza Clubber' isn't a one size-fits-all persona. We aren't required, as party goers, to fuel our bodies with a cocktail of drugs, snorting every white powder in sight. In my experiences of clubs, not just in Ibiza, I've met just as many people with sober dignity at the end of the night to those opting for prolonged hallucinogenic euphoria, dreaded paranoia and come down.

In 2013 I met a guy at DC-10 who had been coming to the island for years but had remained sober for the last two after a heavy season left him with Obstructive Sleep Apnea and night terrors. The consequences of his experiences with drugs forced him to rethink his lifestyle and scared his friends into cutting drugs out altogether. He's not alone - the majority of my friends from that trip continue to return to Ibiza, and other music meccas like Barcelona for Sonar, completely drug-free. We come for the music not to spend all our time and money shovelling amphetamines and god-knows-what into our systems.

The majority of people know there's more to Ibiza. Yet media scaremongering leads us to believe we shouldn't visit destinations like the White Isle due to its club culture. Last year British tourists were seen openly snorting cocaine on balconies much to the horror of locals who posted photos and videos on social media. Evidently Ibiza hasn't created the best reputation for itself. A playground for the young and rich, the White Isle comes with the famous Balearic price tag. A great place for those with deep pockets and total disregard for the value of money.

The press has further added to the demonisation of Ibiza's club culture with stories of "The Peru Two" Melissa Reid and Michaella Connolly who were caught with £1.5mil of cocaine, last year's arrest of X-Factor contestant Orla Keogh for Class A possession and, more recently, three Brits caught in January with 9,000 pills, 2 kilos of MDMA and £4,000 cash. Yes, these people have committed crimes and should be punished but these stories shouldn't taint our perception of the island and those that love it.

Last year BBC 1Xtra interviewed three young British women on holiday in Ibiza about their take on drugs. They all stated they've never taken drugs nor do they intend to. It was also unveiled in the 2014 British Drugs Survey that drug use in the UK was rising; however, 87 per cent of takers claim they are not addicted. MDMA has a reputation for being a party drug often consumed on dancefloors but the 2015 Global Drug Survey found that 36 per cent of UK MDMA users took the drug outside a club environment, choosing to get high in their own homes. Only 16 per cent of drug users questioned do them in a club, bar or pub environment.

So why are we terrified of the Ibiza clubbing scene if it's not the clubs that are the issue? Whether we chose to sip one or two drinks in a night or hoover up enough class As to kill a small horse, it's our choice. Personally, I'd rather remember my night and go home with a healthy complexion and photos I don't have to hide from my family.

Ibiza has an abundance of secret parties, open air fiestas and insane blowouts. You won't have time to lie in the foetal position until evening, you'll be too busy on an incredible boat party, fully aware and in control of your mind and body. Yeah, it sounds cheesy, but there are far more exciting things in Ibiza (and life) than drugs; all it requires is a decent itinerary and a great diversity of parties on offer.