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Report: Dying at a Concert is Easier Than You Think

IMAGE: Nearly 60 deaths at concerts in the U.S. and Canada were documented from 2010 to 2013. Image credit: ClickitTicket
IMAGE: Nearly 60 deaths at concerts in the U.S. and Canada were documented from 2010 to 2013. Image credit: ClickitTicket
June 9, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa – The summer concert season has arrived, and there are a number of dangers lurking amongst the music and the crowds that can lead to tragedy, mainly for teens and young adults.

A new analysis from ClickitTicket reviewed more than 200 fatalities at concerts since 1969 and about three dozen were drug-related.

CEO Jason OConnor says the drugs used at concerts include cocaine, heroin, bath salts, meth and one of the most mentioned – MDMA, also known as ecstasy or Molly, which can lead to hyperthermia.

"Often times, people become very dehydrated and they don't realize what they're doing to their body, because let's say they're at a concert and they're dancing around and they're taking this,” he says. “They don't notice that they're thirsty. They don't notice anything. And that's when you start to get into problems."

OConnor also notes that there have been stories of bad batches of MDMA, laced with dangerous chemicals.

In addition to the drug-related deaths, the other leading causes of fatalities at concerts are stampedes, structural failures and violence.

While overdoses or deaths can happen at any music venue, OConnor points to festivals such as Bonnaroo, where there have been 10 fatalities over the past decade, at least half drug-related.

"And Phish shows do seem to have quite a bit of drugs there,” he adds. “That's sort of an extension of the Grateful Dead and there were a lot of drugs in that culture.

“And then the other real big one that we talked about was EDM or electronic dance music."

OConnor says concert and festival promoters and organizers can't ensure that all attendees are drug free, but they can take simple steps to make their events as safe as possible for young people, including education, parent involvement and policing.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - IA