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57 Drug Related Illnesses at Sunset Music Festival, 2 Dead of Overdose

  • 57 Drug Related Illnesses at Sunset Music Festival, 2 Dead of Overdose

    57 Drug Related Illnesses at Sunset Music Festival, 2 Dead of Overdose

    Summer is the season of music festivals, intended to bring together like-minded music enthusiast who gather to enjoy the talents of their favorite artists and bands. Large festivals like Coachella, Ultra, Lollapalooza, and Warped Tour attract thousands of attendees each year looking to have a good time and bond with their fellow music lovers.

    57 Drug Related Illnesses at Sunset Music Festival, 2 Dead of Overdose imageUnfortunately, these kinds of music festivals have also garnered a reputation of being roving drug dens, promoting the abuse of alcohol and less legal substances.

    While I certainly don’t think that the music itself is promotes substance abuse, it is an unfortunately popular part of the subculture. One that can quickly and easily go wrong, as often those indulging in the use of alcohol and drugs at these music festivals do not actually know what they are taking.

    That’s exactly what authorities in Tampa believe happened at the Sunset Music Festival over Memorial Day Weekend.

    Two attendees of the festival died of drug overdoses, while 55 others were hospitalized due to suspected drug-related illnesses. It has not yet been determined what substance was involved in the deaths of 21 year old Katie Bermudez and 22 year old Alex Haynes, though authorities suspect a combination of Molly or MDMA and the Tampa heat were factors.

    The sheer number of drug related incidents in a such a short period of time is alarming- for good reason. It highlights an alarming reality: naivety and thoughtlessness at these celebrations of music can quickly turn to tragedy.

    Dr. Tamas Peredy of Tampa’s Poison Control Center made this point:

    “I think people need to realize when they buy something called Molly, it would be like walking into the store and buying soda and not knowing what was in the bottle.”

    57 Drug Related Illnesses at Sunset Music Festival, 2 Dead of Overdose imageDesigner party drugs like Molly are exactly that: an imprecise concoction of a thousand possible substances in unknown quantities. Taking these drugs is like playing Russian Roulette- plus you don’t need drugs or alcohol to enjoy a music festival.

    Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn is of the opinion that this tragedy was due to the music itself- a statement which is not only false, but harmfully uninformed:

    “Obviously, this type of music tends to attract a certain type of fan that engaged in certain types of drugs. It worries me any time we have a loss of life here, particularly when it could have been prevented by better decision-making.”

    Attendees of the festival blame the tragedies on a lack of proper monitoring for illicit substances. They expressed that the Sunset Music Festival needs to have greater control over what is entering the festival grounds in the future- if there is a future. Right now there is some debate regarding banning Sunset Music Festival in Tampa.

    Do you think Sunset Music Festival should be banned? Let us know what you think in the comments!

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