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Country music concert scene of 50 alcohol related emergencies

A country music concert at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts last Saturday night was the scene of yet another problematic substance related incident. Over 50 people were taken into protective custody for intoxication and 22 were taken to local hospitals for alcohol and or drug overdoses. Emergency responders at the scene treated 46 people who had too much to drink.

Music concerts have long had a legacy of drug use, dating back to the early sixties when marijuana and hallucinogens were the drug of choice. The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and other San Francisco based groups were famous for their “Acid Tests” where drinking supplies were laced with hallucinogens for the audience as well as the band.

The documentary filmed at the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival in 1969 includes an announcement from the stage by concert organizers that “The brown acid…is not too good” and liable to cause negative effects.

More recently it was the TD Bank North Garden in Boston that saw a large number of drug related emergencies at an electronic music concert in June. The drug of choice for this genre of music appears to be “Molly”, a powerful hallucinogen.

Although the ages of the people who ran into trouble at this weekend’s Keith Urban concert are not known, it is usually younger people who experience alcohol related problems at events such as this. The reasons for this are:
1. Younger people usually do not have as much experience, if any with using alcohol and are unaware of their limits.
2. Because the concert venue prohibits underage alcohol use, many concert-goers load up before arriving at the concert. Under these circumstances, they are not subject to the concert venue’s limits, where trained servers monitor the amounts provided.
3. Younger people are more susceptible to peer pressure, especially when they are with people a few years older.
4. Recent research has shown that the human brain does not fully develop until around age 25, rendering the decision-making and processing capabilities of teens less than capable when faced with challenging decisions.

Local concert venues have been making concerted efforts to control the use of substances during events but it is unclear what else can be done to protect those who tend to indulge too much in what they think will heighten the experience.

For more on substance related problems at recent concerts check:

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