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Drug Use at Paradiso Festival Kills One, Sends Many to Hospital

A 21-year-old man is dead, and several others remain hospitalized (some in serious condition) after a powerful drug cocktail known as “Molly” was passed around at this weekend’s Paradiso Festival at The Gorge Amphitheatre near George, WA.

Reported numbers have been mixed, but according to Billboard, the rural Quincy Valley Medical Center (the hospital facility nearest The Gorge) treated approximately 70 concert-goers in its emergency room over the weekend, over half related to drug and alcohol. Other reports suggest the number of people treated totaled as many as 100. The facility typically sees nine ER patients a day.

Most of the concert-goers were treated and released from the ER, but at least seven were admitted for further treatment. A number of people who required intensive care (including the man who died) had to be transferred other facilities like Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee.

In its second year, the Paradiso Festival is billed as a music festival “where digital meets nature,” heavy on electronic/EDM acts. The two-day event featured such artists as Tiesto, Kaskade, Zeds Dead, Porter Robinson, Infected Mushroom and others. While the festival website declares a “no tolerance” policy for illegal drugs, recreational drugs such as MDMA (“ecstasy”) are no stranger to the EDM scene.

But “Molly” is claimed to be a stronger or purer form of MDMA, and according to medical officials at Quincy Valley Medical Center, the combination taken by overdose victims also contained LSD, cocaine and methamphetamine. Molly is not a new drug, and has gained popularity in concert culture recently as evidenced by apparent references to the drug in songs and concerts by the likes of Rick Ross, DJ Cedrick Gervais (“Have You Seen Molly?”) and even Madonna.

Overdose victims were apparently simply told they were getting ecstasy.

As a point of commentary: The tragic events at Paradiso this weekend should serve as a wake-up call to a culture whose pendulum is currently swinging more favorably toward recreational drug use.  As public opinion continues to relax toward marijuana use (even as modern science continues to raise some red flags as to its dangers), it seems to be a natural logical progression to be open toward other recreational drugs, as well. It is worth stating that any drug (legal or not) that tampers with normal brain function (particularly in the areas of logic or reason) is unsafe, no matter the momentary sensation it happens to bring.

Great music can be enjoyed without the assistance of drugs. Millions of music lovers already know this. Many others need to be reminded of it. If the news of Paradiso convinces a few music lovers to stay away from Molly and others like “her”, perhaps this is the best good that could come from this tragedy.


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About the Author

on MUSIC IS MY OXYGEN WEEKLY.

David Tillman is an independent composer/arranger whose primary work involves writing jingles for commercials for radio and television, with several film and television placements to his credit as well. David has a fascination for all things related to the music business and the music industry in general, an obsession which his wife finds to be mildly unhealthy at times. His personal tastes in music are in electronica and industrial rock, and include The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk and Nine Inch Nails (he loves that Trent Reznor is writing soundtracks!). When not in his office or in his man-cave, David enjoys skiing, hiking, the occasional game of golf, and sometimes just lounging by the pool. David lives with his wife and three children in Los Angeles, CA.

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