Jordan Blackburn is no different than the thousands of 20-somethings around the world who love attending music festivals. But last year, he attended one U.K. electronic dance music (EDM) concert that would change his life forever.
Peer Pressure and Other Deciding Factors
Jordan, along with a group of his friends, decided to “heighten” the EDM experience by taking a variety of different pills while at the concert. The group bought a handful of mystery pills from a “dealer” who promised them the musical experience of a lifetime. Despite having no clue what these pills were or what they would do to him, Jordan swallowed them down and waited for the fun to begin.
When he came to, he was in the hospital and hooked up to tubes. Blackburn learned he had been in a coma for the last three days and that his friend, Christian Pay, died from a drug overdose.
Once he got home, Jordan took to social media and shared a shocking photo...a picture that showed him lying comatose in a hospital bed. He hopes his story will inspire readers to prevent them making the same mistakes.
"I don't have much recollection, I think because it was such a traumatic event. It was really awful,” he told the BBC. “You never think at that moment it is ever going to happen to you, but unfortunately you learn the hard way.”
Same Old Problems
Unfortunately, Blackburn’s story isn’t uncommon. Two women died earlier this month from suspected drug overdoses at the Hard Summer Music Festival, while another overdose death occurred last April at the Coachella Music Festival. Many of the more recent festival deaths came after attendees showed symptoms (dehydration, overheating) associated with taking MDMA.
An infographic released earlier this year highlights the most commonly abused drugs at music festivals. MDMA was unsurprisingly most associated with electronic music festivals, but five other drugs were also among the most commonly sought after at music festivals.
Prevalence by Drug of Choice
- Alcohol – Binge drinking can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack or inflammation of the stomach and pancreas.
- Marijuana – Pot smoke can lead to reduced blood vessel function, which can increase a person’s chance of developing hardened arteries and could lead to a heart attack.
- Cocaine - Increased heart rate, muscle spasms and convulsions are common among cocaine users, but it’s possible to experience potentially fatal symptoms including a heart attack, stroke, seizure or respiratory failure.
- Mushrooms – Side effects of psychedelic mushrooms include hallucinations, a distorted sense of time and erratic behavior that includes outbursts or panic attacks. However, toxicity is a potential danger when combined with other drugs or the user experiences particularly adverse reactions.
- DMT – Initially used by South American tribes during cultural rituals, DMT can spark intense visuals, increased heart rate and increased body temperature. Users can die from the drug due to vomiting that results in choking or by falling into a drug-induced coma.
The easiest way to avoid similar dangers is by refraining from using drugs at music festivals. Enjoy the music while being aware that a chemically-altered state won’t enhance the experience - it could, however, lead to fatal consequences.
Additional Reading: Drugs, Death and EDM: Tips for a Safe, Sober Music Experience
Image Source: iStock