Illustrated By Austin Watts.
Building collapses, train and bus collisions, and earthquakes are common examples of “Mass Casualty Incidents” — a.k.a. events producing victims that overwhelm emergency medical services. Now, we can add last night's Avicii concert to that category.
At least 36 attendees were hospitalized and 50 others were treated or evaluated at the scene of the Avicii concert that took place Wednesday at Boston’s TD Garden. Local emergency medical services declared a Phase 2 Mass Casualty Incident, signifying that over 30 people required hospitalization. (To put the number in context, 25 people were hospitalized over the entirety of the notorious three-day Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas last weekend.)
The victims, ranging from ages 16 to 25, were apparently suffering from drug and alcohol side effects, namely severe overheating and dehydration. It hasn't been unconfirmed if the drug Molly contributed to the incident, but the signs point to yes. Molly, or MDMA, is popular for providing what users describe as an ecstatic rushing sensation, with a psychedelic twist. It also interferes with the body’s ability to regulate temperature — which can raise its core temperature to dangerous levels. Throw in the dehydration and body-heating effects of alcohol (caffeine has these as well), a steamy, crowded venue, and serious amounts of dancing, and you have a recipe for heatstroke.
Concertgoers’ symptoms last night were minor, but the dangers of mixing drugs, alcohol, and sweat can be severe. At an Avicii concert in Toronto on May, 29 people were hospitalized for alcohol- and drug-related illnesses, of whom five were reported to be in serious condition. For his part, Tim Bergling — stage name Avicii — took to Twitter to express his thoughts on last night’s events:
You can’t help but think he hopes future concert attendees will keep themselves in the venue and out of the hospital. The takeaway: No matter how you choose to enjoy a concert, hydrate.