The Clark County Coroner's Office has confirmed that the cause of death for Kenani Kaimuloa, who died last month after attending EDC Las Vegas, was drug-related, telling THUMP over the phone that she died from a combination of "MDMA and cocaine intoxication," with environmental conditions including outdoor heat also playing a factor. Kaimuloa was 20 years old.
Read More: How Do We Stop Drug Deaths At Festivals?
After the festival's conclusion on Monday, June 20, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on Thursday, June 24, that Kaimuloa had been declared dead at University Medical Center, where she'd been in a coma after collapsing early Monday morning while waiting for the shuttle busses with friends. Initially, Kenani's father, Dane Kaimuloa, told the Review-Journal that doctors said Kenani died from "heatstroke, dehydration, and exhaustion."
However, in an email to the Associated Press later that day, he acknowledged that Kenani had taken drugs that weekend. "Yes there (were) drugs in her system and they also contributed to her death," he wrote. "But it was not just the drugs that killed her. She was at the EDC Las Vegas for the whole 3 days in the record breaking hot weather. That alone could kill anyone."
Temperatures at the dusk-til-dawn event were high, reportedly ranging from 98-109 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the weekend. Even for a sober person, this extreme setting can produce effects such as dehydration and heatstroke (especially when dancing in close quarters for prolonged periods of time), but the situation becomes much more dangerous when drugs are involved. According to harm reduction organization Dance Safe, the high that recreational drugs bring can mask symptoms, and stimulants such as MDMA increase one's internal temperature by inhibiting the natural process that keeps one's body from becoming too cold or too hot.
EDC 2016 marks the third consecutive year that an attendee has died due to drug-related causes. In 2014, Montgomery Tsang and Anthony Anaya died due to "acute methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) toxicity" and "combined ethanol, MDMA and cocaine intoxication," respectively, and last year, Nicholas Austin Tom died due to MDMA intoxication.