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City cancels final day of Electric Zoo music festival after deaths of 2 concertgoers

By TheStrokes, Sep 1, 2013 | Updated: Sep 1, 2013 | | |
  1. TheStrokes
    179175645.jpg Drug overdose deaths triggers cancellation of the Randall's Island electronic music festival. Molly consumption suspected. Additional revelers were hospitalized, as well, officials said.

    City officials cancelled the final day of the Electric Zoo dance music festival on Randall’s Island after two concertgoers died from apparent overdoses.

    The electronic dance music festival, in its fifth year, was scheduled to conclude Sunday with headlining deejay sets by Armin Van Buuren, Sebastiona Ingrosso, Steve Aoki and Laidback Luke.

    But over the first two days of the festival, two attendees died from apparent overdoses of MDMA, nicknamed molly, an illegal drug typically combined with other chemicals in Ecstasy pills, officials said.
    Jeffrey Russ, 23, of Rochester, was rushed to Harlem Hospital at 3:10 a.m. Saturday but could not be saved.

    Olivia Rotondo, 20, of Providence, R.I., was taken to Metropolitan Hospital at 8:45 p.m. Saturday and died about 50 minutes later, police said. Six hours before she was rushed to the hospital, the University of New Hampshire student posted a final message on Twitter.

    “The amount of traveling I've done today is unreal,” Rotondo wrote. “Just get me to the damn zoo.”
    The day before, she posted a picture of her feet in giraffe slippers with the message, “Am I ready for @ElectricZooNY or what?”

    The festival attracted more than 100,000 people last year.

    She also joked about having booked “a non refundable hotel in Chinatown that is the scariest place on earth.”

    At least four more festival attendees are being treated for apparent overdoses in intensive care units at local hospitals, officials said.

    "The City recommended cancellation and the event promoters have agreed," NYPD officials and Mayor Bloomberg's office said in a joint statement.

    "The Electric Zoo organizers have worked with City officials to reduce health risks at this event, but in view of these occurrences, the safest course is to cancel the remaining day of the event."

    Festival leaders also posted a statement on their website: "The founders of Electric Zoo send our deepest condolences to the families of the two people who passed away this weekend. Because there is nothing more important to us than our patrons, we have decided in consultation with the New York City Parks Department that there will be no show today."

    The festival attracted over 100,000 people last year, organizers said. Tickets to Sunday's shows cost $179.
    Event staff were turning people away Sunday morning as news of the sudden cancellation spread.

    New York Daily News (Edgar Sandoval and Barry Paddock reporting)
    September 1st 2013


  1. Alfa
    Re: City cancels final day of Electric Zoo music festival after deaths of two concert

    PMMA is turning up in several locations resulting in fatalities again. I would not be surprised if this turns out to be PMMA as well.
  2. Rob Cypher
    MDMA suspected in deaths, hospitalizations at New York City rave music festival

    The New York City Mayor’s Office announced today that the annual Electric Zoo music festival on Randall’s Island has been cancelled after two attendees died — and another four were transported to the hospital in critical condition — after apparently ingesting the drug MDMA (a component of “ecstasy” known colloquially as “molly”).

    Made Event, the festival’s organizers, released a statement:

    These are the second and third MDMA-related deaths on the Eastern Seaboard in a week. On Tuesday, one concertgoer died and two were hospitalized after overdosing at a Zedd concert at Boston’s House of Blues. Another concert, planned for the following evening, was cancelled.

    Although the deaths are widely believed to be MDMA-related, autopsies performed on the bodies of Saturday’s victims, Jeffrey Russ and Olivia Rotondo, were inconclusive. It will be several weeks before the results of toxicology tests are known.

    Even so, these deaths are likely to renew efforts to deny permits to rave-like events. Following deaths in 2010, the city of Los Angeles refused a permit to Insomniac’s Electric Daisy Carnival.

    (ed. note - another article suggests that methylone being passed off as 'molly' could also be a culprit)

    Scott Kaufman
    Raw Story
    September 1, 2013

  3. Wanderer
    Re: MDMA suspected in deaths, hospitalizations at New York City rave music festival

    I'm sorry, but this kind of yellow journalism just pisses me off.

    Having used both MDMA and Methylone, this is nothing more than just plain scare tactics and to raise public hysteria.

    What really pisses me off is the statement:

    It doesn't take "weeks" to determine if the substance was MDMA, which it probably wasn't. If there is a bad batch of pills making the rounds, it would make more sense to get the information out as soon as possible. Especially before there are more "unfortunate victims" of these evil drugs.

    And in one of the other stories:

    No, people are still in possession of whatever substances they brought in with them and the pills are still on the street. This does nothing to reduce the health risk.

    Test kits are essential these days with all the possible research chemicals making the rounds. Just a guess it's probably something like PMMA or worse.

    This is another fine example of what happens when there's prohibition and the black market runs rampant with uncontrolled dealers with widely available RC's they can pass off as "Ecstasy".

    Users should be educated, awareness should be raised, groups promoting harm reduction should be available at festivals such as this. Education is the key to safety, not keeping people in the dark as this story implies.

    Willful ignorance and scare tactics in the media don't solve anything and neither does random conjecture as seen here.

    This sort of thing just plain upsets me.

    Be well...
  4. squeezix
    There's something (potentially dangerous) about molly

    There's something (potentially dangerous) about molly

    (CNN) -- "Have you heard of molly?" the girl next to me asked. She was swaying from side to side, bobbing her head to the bass vibrating throughout the sold-out venue.

    The room around us was buzzing with anticipation. Music was blasting. People were dancing and laughing and taking pictures. There was less than an hour until showtime, and I was about to see one of my favorite artists, so I was feeling pretty good. The girl next to me, Jessica, was obviously feeling better.

    I turned to my fellow oncertgoers, watching as they met Jessica's eyes, nodding their heads knowingly. Of course they had heard of molly. Turns out, molly is a pretty popular lady these days.

    According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, molly is the powder or crystal form of MDMA -- or 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, a chemical drug most commonly known for its use in the pressed pill Ecstasy.

    Unlike Ecstasy, which has a reputation for being laced with everything from caffeine to methamphetamine, molly -- a name shortened from "molecule" -- is thought of as "pure" MDMA.

    The DEA labels it an illegal Schedule 1 controlled substance, considered to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted use in medical treatment.

    Molly is abundant at music festivals -- if you know where to look. The third and final day of New York's Electric Zoo music festival was canceled Sunday after two concert-goers died and at least four others were hospitalized due to what is believed to be MDMA-related causes, police said; it is unclear whether the drug was used in Ecstasy pills or in its "pure" form of molly.

    Last year, at Miami's Ultra Music Festival, fliers littered the landscape mentioning her name like missing child posters: "Have you seen molly?" And when Madonna took to the stage to introduce an artist, the pop star asked the audience: "How many people in this crowd have seen molly?" A slew of cheers answered, though Madonna later said she'd been referring to a song, not to an illegal drug.

    Hip-hop artists claim they know her -- she's casually mentioned by 2 Chainz in the Nicki Minaj track "Beez In the Trap," by Childish Gambino in his song "Unnecessary," by Kanye West in "Mercy," by Danny Brown in "Die Like a Rockstar." Even Miley Cyrus is familiar, although the line "We like to party, dancing with molly" was bleeped out in her most recent performance of "We Can't Stop" on the MTV Video Music Awards. It seems the drug is on the minds of many. But questions about who -- or what -- molly really is remain.

    Contradictions about makeup

    An experience with molly starts with a bitter taste, users say, which is soon forgotten as the high kicks in.

    "It felt like everything was amplified. It felt euphoric -- almost like a crazy adrenaline rush for a long time," said Evan, a young professional working in Michigan.

    "You feel a lot more loose and comfortable in your environment," said recent Georgia high school graduate Jessica, who'd never used molly until the concert last summer -- a friend's recommendation convinced her to give molly a try. And then, usually after a few hours -- depending on the dose that is taken -- of dancing and moving and talking, the trip comes to an end.

    "(After it was over), it wasn't like a depression, but it was like, 'Aw man, I wish I felt that way again,' " Jessica said.

    MDMA acts as a stimulant and a psychedelic, according to the DEA. After being inhaled, eaten or parachuted -- folded into a tissue and swallowed -- molly ushers in euphoria. It floods users' brains with neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, making them feel elated, empathic and full of energy.

    MDMA first found popularity in the form of Ecstasy as the drug of choice among ravers at underground nightclubs in the early 1990s. But when questions arose over the purity of Ecstasy --- the drug was often mixed with other ingredients ---- people turned their attention to a purer form, Nathan Messer, chairman of the board for the nonprofit organization DanceSafe, which promotes health and safety within the nightclub community, told CNN in 2012.

    "You knew you were getting the real thing and nothing but the real thing," he said. "Because people knew that (molly) was trustworthy, it became the go-to thing."

    You knew you were getting the real thing and nothing but the real thing. ... (Molly) became the go-to thing.
    DanceSafe's Nathan Messer

    Molly is a street name that has been in use for about a decade, Messer said. Although it originally referred simply to MDMA, the title "molly" is now given to a variety of legal substances with similar chemical structures.

    Messer said MDPV, methylone, mephedrone and butylone -- different substances or drugs --are often sold as molly, while users such as Evan have heard countless rumors of molly's makeup, including that it's created from fertilizer.

    Number of users unclear

    Molly users tend be between the ages of 16 and 24, Pax Prentiss, co-founder and CEO of Southern California's Passages rehabilitation centers, told CNN last year.

    Exact numbers detailing molly's use are unclear -- studies conducted by U.S. health organizations such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration usually only quantify use of MDMA or Ecstasy, not molly specifically. But molly appears to be gaining popularity.

    As the owner of a film company that shoots music videos and festivals, Evan often sees molly in use at shows. And even for someone who doesn't consider himself to be an avid drug user, he said he found it easy to get his hands on some molly.

    "All I had to do was text a friend," Evan said.

    Because MDMA has long been associated with raves, the mainstream popularity of electronic dance music also contributed to molly's rising reputation, DanceSafe's Messer said.

    In 2011, about 25 kilograms of molly worth at least $525,000 were recovered after a DEA investigation of a large-scale drug trafficking operation based in Syracuse, New York, a college town. The bust led to charges against 20 people.

    Penn State University Police Chief Tyrone Parham told CNN he and his officers first heard anecdotes about molly in 2011. Parham said it's hard to get a real idea of how many students have used molly. Officers can catch users of marijuana -- the most common drug on Penn State's campus, according to Parham -- in the act because of the drug's conspicuous odor. But it's difficult to know if a student has misused molly because officers are often called after the drug has already been ingested -- if they are even called at all.

    "I think it's one of those things, not just here but across the country, (that's hard) to get an understanding of how prevalent it is," he said.

    A name with innocent appeal

    Some consider the name picked for this white powder a clever marketing strategy: "Molly" carries both the innocent appeal of the girl next door and the implication that the drug is always pure MDMA. But because the chemical makeup of molly is often altered, taking the drug is dangerous, DEA spokesman Rusty Payne told CNN in 2012.

    And although MDMA tastes, smells and affects you differently than other drugs would, without having experience with each molly variation, there's no easy way to tell if the substance you take is pure, Messer said. But even as its pure form molly, MDMA can be dangerous.

    The DEA sees MDMA supplied from Asia, Canada, even the Netherlands.

    "You have no idea the lab environment these chemicals or substances were produced in," Payne said. "If they knew where things were produced, they might think twice."

    Risky business

    Some drug users have said they prefer molly over other illicit drugs because of the limited negative side effects they've experienced.

    "Honestly, if I were to pick a drug out of anything else to do, I would pick molly," Evan said. "Molly has a lot to do with loud music and seeing lights -- getting excited about seeing something that's already cool and making it cooler."

    Because prolonged use eventually begins to diminish users' highs, the risk of physical addiction is low, said Prentiss, the Passages rehab CEO. MDMA addictions make up less than 5% of the company's clientele, he said.

    And hospital visits spurred by MDMA use appear to be few and far between. Less than 4% of emergency room visits in 2009 were because of MDMA, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network, which is part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

    In fact, with its mood-enhancing properties, MDMA is even being studied as a possible treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

    But the Drug Abuse Warning Network's study also found that from 2004 to 2009, there was a 123% increase in the number of emergency room visits involving MDMA taken alone or in combination with pharmaceuticals, alcohol or both.

    Theodore Bania, a medical toxicologist and emergency medicine physician at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York, said although many of the people who take molly don't end up in the emergency room, some users experience side effects that land them in the hospital.

    MDMA, even in its pure form, can produce elevated heart rates and distortion of thought processes, causing users not to realize their rising body temperature or fading stamina as they continue to party. Combining MDMA with alcohol or other drugs can also be the cause of its more serious side effects.

    Bania frequently sees patients who have complications from MDMA, ranging from dehydration and exhaustion to more severe side effects such as hyperthermia, seizures, electrolyte abnormalities, cardiac episodes and comas.

    MDMA also depletes the body of some of its neurotransmitters, which can lead to a decreased mood about a day or two after using the drug. Prentiss said he has even seen the drug lead to long-term depression. Users who haven't had exposure to molly's serious negative side effects sometimes think of it as a "safer" drug. But Hart, the Columbia associate professor, said claims that any drug is safe are ridiculous.

    "A lot has to do with the doses people take," Hart said. "As you increase the dose over an extended period of time, you can expect to see some negative effects. That's a general rule the public really needs to understand."

    Hart said he believes accurate education, not law enforcement, is key to minimizing the risks of illicit drugs such as molly. Because so many young people have already tried molly, he said experts need to make sure they are being realistic about the dangers of its use.

    "What we've done and what we consistently do is we include people that exaggerate the harms," Hart said. "Kids are not listening because they've already had the experience. ... They (think they) should reject everything we're saying because we're not being accurate, and they know it."

    'A softening against drugs'

    Molly's rise in popularity can, in part, be attributed to the current culture, Tammy Anderson, a professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware, told CNN in 2012. Anderson has studied the use of drugs, including MDMA, in nightclubs. "We're at a place here historically that people don't think marijuana is a drug anymore."

    Although marijuana, like molly, remains on the DEA's list of Schedule 1 controlled substances, it's a drug that many citizens think of not only as minor but as one that should be legal. And 17 states have legalized it for medical use.

    There is now greater permissiveness and lax attitudes toward drugs such as marijuana, so people move on to other substances, such as molly, and give themselves permission to use them, Anderson said.

    "We are moving into a post-war on drugs era. We're seeing a softening of drug laws and a softening against drugs, especially among young people."

    For now, the DEA is more focused on fighting the abuse of prescription medications such as Oxycontin and Valium. But as admirers plaster posters at concerts asking, "Have you seen molly?" officials can only hope she stays missing.

    CNN (Marina Csomor reporting)
    September 3rd 2013
  5. Pharmac0therapy
    Re: There's something (potentially dangerous) about molly

    Maybe Molly wouldn't be so hard to find if people would stop hiding her in their noses. Hehe just a thought ;)
  6. Basoodler
    Re: There's something (potentially dangerous) about molly

    Its odd to see all media outlets covering "molly" as if it were "another form" of MDMA. Or as if the term "molly" wasn't a decade old.

    Mdma has been thoroughly beat to the ground by the media in the last 20 years..to the point there should be nothing left to talk about.. yet here they are giving it a fresh coat of paint.

    I know somebody I'm these news rooms knows better..
  7. Boltzmann
    Re: There's something (potentially dangerous) about molly

    Journalism getting sloppier? This is rubbish.
  8. Psygeist
    Re: There's something (potentially dangerous) about molly

    Any bullshit that's mentioned by celebrities is taken to an extent of today's media, which shouldn't be surprising.. It really started off with Tyga's song "Molly" of course -.-
  9. cra$h
    Re: There's something (potentially dangerous) about molly

    Just saw ABC world news create a similar thing, about this infamous unheardof "molly" drug. haha, they think it's cut with meth, vitamin b, and caffiene UNLIKE pressed pills? hahahahahaha!!! why do you think molly's more in demand than pressed pills anymore? People got tired of bullshit cuts like bzp and those piperazines and other knock-offs. Come on media, join the party and we'll tell you the next big thing to make a fuss about and eventually get the government to ban. Thanks for being a buzzkill, again.
  10. Basoodler
    Re: There's something (potentially dangerous) about molly

    I'm surprised they didn't pick up on the 5-eapb story and start inserting it into this story.. with the addition of a cute name and poorly concieved story line about how it. Endangers children.

    Something like "5-eapb, is known on the street as zwieback because it is often used by infants. zwieback, resembles powdered baby formula and is impossible to detect when mixed with traditional forumla in the bottle without lab analysis"

    That would have been a better story.

    You would think that after reporting mdma deaths occasionally for the last two decades would only improve the quality of the information. I mean its the same story 90% of the time "kid takes too much mdma ( and other drugs) at a techno party. Kid doesn't rehydrate or take a break for hours..kid dies".. the story in these articles is no different..
  11. Pharmac0therapy
    Re: There's something (potentially dangerous) about molly

    Apparently there was nothing more important going on in the world that day...

    Complete rubbish. And this is CNN we're talking about too... you would think that a news giant like that would have done a preliminary search to see whether or not the topic at hand has already been covered like a thousand times. Not like that would even be necessary anyway -- anybody who doesn't know what molly is by this point either lives under a rock, or, apparently, writes articles for CNN...

    And on top of that, the author completely discounted the relevance of the article in her concluding statements. Even the DEA hardly gives two shits about molly. Maybe she should have taken the hint...
  12. varuka
    Re: City cancels final day of Electric Zoo music festival after deaths of 2 concertgo

    Just wondering. These concerts are usually held outdoors, it's September and hot as hell outside. That many people, together, potentially forgetting to stay hydrated...

    It reeks of danger.

    Unless you test, you never know what you're getting. If you can't test, stay sober.

    There could've been many different factors contributing to these deaths. That's all I'm getting at. Back in my x days i was always careful to have a sitter, always my cousin who loved me, she never did drugs or drank, she forced me drink water and made sure i was ok. That no one took advantage of me. There's no way I'd have went to a day fest, too many people, in the heat, no one really paying attention to what's going on...

    It's super sad. But situations like this are dangerous even if it were pure Molly.

    Be safe, party safe.
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