During the Chasing Summer festival in Calgary this weekend, ten people were taken to the hospital for drug and alcohol-related medical problems, according to local authorities. The identities of the people have not been released, but Alberta Emergency Medical Services spokesperson Adam Loria said to the Calgary Herald that they were men and women in their 20s and 30s who were transported in stable, non-life-threatening conditions.
The festival was produced by American entertainment company Live Nation and Canada's Ink Promotions, and took place at the Max Bell Centre Festival Grounds from July 30-31. It featured sets from EDM heavyweights Martin Garrix, Hardwell, Zeds Dead, and more.
During last year's Chasing Summer festival, 17 people were hospitalized including five cases that were considered to be serious, and one that was potentially life-threatening. No fatalities resulted from the incident; an EMS representative said most of the individuals had mixed large amounts of alcohol with another illicit substance.
Some Canadian festivals (as well as others in the US) are trying to combat the potentially dangerous side of effects of drugs with a policy of harm reduction, by tackling substance use as a public health concern rather than attempting to outright ban drugs. Drug testing kits are thought to be an effective means towards this end, but many festivals choose not to use them because of lack of clarity in the law and their fear of losing insurance.
Despite such concerns, the British Columbian Shambhala music festival maintains a lauded policy of having drug testing kits on-site, and they're currently trying to expand their services to include testing for the opiate fentanyl.
The Alberta EMS and Chasing Summer did not respond to THUMP's requests for comment at the time of publication.
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