Doctors Outraged Over 'Government-Encouraged Drug Fest'
California doctors Monday called for raves to be banned in public spaces as they branded the weekend's Electric Daisy Carnival a "government-encouraged ... drug fest," the Los Angeles Times reported.
Medics are so concerned by the dangers at events such as the Electric Daisy, which was held at the Los Angeles Coliseum and Exposition Park, that they plan for them like a "multi-casualty incident," Cathy Chidester, director of the county emergency medical services agency, said.
The term is usually associated with disasters such as the Chatsworth Metrolink train crash, which killed 25 in 2008.
Chidester was one of a number of emergency room physicians who expressed concern about the number of teenagers and young people ending up in the hospital after attending raves, mainly for drug intoxication.
Electric Daisy, which attracted 185,000 people and was touted by organizers as the largest rave in North America, was no exception with about 120 people taken to the hospital by paramedics, according to the county emergency medical services agency.
The number did not include patients who went to the emergency room on their own or were taken there by friends. At least two people were in intensive care, including one minor. Another minor was rushed to the hospital comatose.
The event also follows other high-profile incidents at other major events including 18 drug overdoses tied to the drug Ecstasy at a New Year's Eve rave held in the same complex as the Coliseum.
Two men also died of suspected overdoses during a Memorial Day weekend rave at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.
Dr. Marc Futernick, medical director of California Hospital Medical Center, said it was “unconscionable” for a publicly owned facility such as the Coliseum to host raves.
“I don’t know why our elected … leaders would allow these activities to take place,” Futernick said.
“This is basically a government-encouraged … drug fest. That’s the wrong message,” Dr. Brian Johnston, director of the emergency room at White Memorial Medical Center, said.
The Coliseum is a financially independent venue on state land that is run under the authority of a joint city, county and state commission.
Its general manager Pat Lynch said they had prepared appropriately for the event.
"When you’ve got 185,000 people coming to anything, there’s incidents .… Over the course of two days, stuff happens.”