COLUMBIA, MD (WBAL/CNN) – A music festival in Columbia, MD leaves two people dead, and the family of one victim says someone laced his water with a drug.
It was the Mad Decent Block Party held at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD. Now, two people who attended the event – a 17-year-old from Woodbridge, VA whose name is being withheld, and 20-year-old Tyler Viscardi of Raleigh, NC – are dead of suspected drug overdoses.
Howard County, MD police said what happened here is part of a national and international issue.
"They have them all over the country and all over the world, and it's our understanding from our detectives that drug use is very, very prevalent at these shows," Sherry Llewellyn, Howard County Police Department spokeswoman, said.
Viscardi’s family released a statement, saying according to a “close college friend who was with him, the afternoon was hot and [Tyler] drank water that was given to him by others who were in the area. We believe that this contained a substance unbeknownst to him, to which he had a toxic reaction.”
Police say others were also taken to the hospital suffering from drug-related symptoms. They think MDMA, a synthetic psychoactive drug known as ecstasy or “Molly” was the most commonly used at this concert.
“Our officers are looking for any illegal activity. They issued a large number of underage drinking citations at this particular concert, also seized a large number of fake IDs at the concert, and also made some arrests for other types of drugs like marijuana, which were more evident to them,” Llewellyn said. “Sometimes, though, when we've got a drug where the ingestion is of a small pill, it's tougher for our officers to see or realize that's happening."
The block party was an EDM, or electronic dance music, festival. A local substance abuse expert says Molly is very popular at these events.
Substance abuse expert Mike Gimble says it speeds up your system, increasing energy, but one of the side effects is your body temperature rises to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and caused dehydration.
When he talks to freshman and first-year student athletes, he warns them about drug-use with a heavy hand.
"What you do and the choices that you make when it comes to alcohol and drugs will live with you forever - whether it's an arrest, an overdose, or something worse," Gimble said.
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