Two women – one 18, one 19 – were found unresponsive at the HARD Summer music festival at the Los Angeles County fairgrounds Saturday. Their deaths, which are suspected overdoses, have rekindled a debate about whether authorities can do more to reduce drug-related problems at raves.
There are now fewer raves in Los Angeles following a string of drug-related problems at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum events, where the frequency of drug overdoses was so great that overwhelmed emergency room doctors urged the end of raves there.
The annual two-day HARD Summer musical festival grew to 65,000 attendees each day this year, up from 40,000 just last year. The event, the biggest of its kind in the area, takes place in Pamona on land mostly owned by the Los Angeles County government. Los Angeles County Supervisors Michael D. Antonovich and Hilda Solis reacted Sunday, vowing to investigate whether the event was properly managed to attendees’ safety.
A 2013 Los Angeles Times investigation found that at least 14 people who attended raves hosted by Los Angeles-based organizers died from overdoses or in drug-related incidents since 2006.
Last year, 19-year-old Emily Tran died after collapsing at the HARD Summer music festival from acute intoxication of Ecstasy, according to coroner’s officials. While Ecstasy is often viewed as harmless, doctors say the drug be dangerous when combined with high temperatures and physical exertion—causing organ failure, coma and death.
The names of the two women who died at this year’s HARD festival have not yet been released. Autopsies will be conducted in the next few days.
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