Raves Don’t Cause Overdoses. Drugs Do.


Earlier this month, two teenage girls died at HARD Summer Music Festival in drug-related complications.  But does that mean that EDM festivals should be banned?  The following is a response from Insomniac founder Pasquale Rotella, whose Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) is one of the largest EDM events in the world.



I’ve been incredibly saddened by yet another loss of life that’s been attributed to our culture, and I have spent the last week reflecting on how the story has played out in the media. First and foremost, my heart goes out to the friends and family of those two young women.

We don’t condone or tolerate drug use, but the problem here isn’t raves or dance music, or even festivals in general. The health impact of drug abuse in our country extends far beyond what happens at our events.

I lost five friends to drug overdoses at a young age, none of which occurred at dance music festivals; most of them weren’t even fans of the genre. No one wrote about them.
Dance culture has survived for decades and has never been more popular.  Banning these events at facilities where we are able to provide first-rate medical care and emergency services is not the answer.  I hope that policymakers and the media do not turn their backs on a cultural movement that is thriving and brings so much happiness to a generation that, quite frankly, needs an environment where they can feel loved and accepted.  Most just want healthy interaction with their peers.  I know that if I didn’t have access to this community growing up, my life would have taken a much different turn.
I see nothing but great opportunity within large gatherings—the opportunity to promote health, happiness, individuality, and human connection.

If we’re trying to create a safe and secure environment for these passionate fans, sending them back into the unregulated underground isn’t a step in the right direction.

We all need to do our part in creating a national dialogue that educates our youth and encourages them to be accountable for their choices—especially when it comes to drugs.


16 Responses

  1. horse

    Fuck dude WTF these bitches jus need some betta drugs.


  2. MartinC

    Criminalising drug use causes far more dangers than the drugs themselves. Quite apart from the fact that prohibition hands huge amounts of money to organised crime, and all the social problems that that creates, when drugs such as extacy are criminalised, people find legal alternatives. The effects and the dangers of MDMA are well known, the alternatives that keep spriniging up are not. What were the girls who died taking? All we are told is “drugs”.
    The do-gooders who want all mind-altering substances criminalised (except of course the most socially damaging of them all, alcohol) are creating far more dangers to our kids than the decriminalisation of all drugs.

  3. Mr. Unpopular

    Society was better off when people did not get high constantly. We are watching the entire world become addicts, and still (as only an 8th grader can) dimwit puffs say alcohol is much worse.

    Dopeheads should just be intellectually honest and say: “I want to get high whenever and wherever I want, and screw the effect on me or others.” I’d at least respect that statement, unlike the juvenile comparisons to alcohol.

    • Nina Ulloa

      Please name me a time when society was not getting high.

      As far as alcohol being worse than some drugs… That’s just science and common sense.

      • Mr. Unpopular

        There are more addicts now than ever in the history of the world due to widespread distribution of prescription narcotics and illegal opiates. Have people always ingested intoxicants? Absolutely. But western culture is absolutely destroying itself through illegal and legal drugs, and the left deems it a civil right to do so.

        I don’t really care–never shed a tear for an overdose death because it is nature’s way of eliminating the weak. So, have at the needle, the crack pipe, ecstacy, meth –whatever. And go on pretending there has not been a profound affect on American society. Go on. Bad things happen when people play make believe.

        • Paul Resnikoff
          Paul Resnikoff

          I’m not sure there’s any way to measure and prove “there are more addicts now than ever in the history of the world,” though few would disagree that we live in a medicated society in the US. Interestingly, I’ve heard people refer to certain prescription medications as ‘legal cocaine’ or some variant, which makes me think that at least this stuff is legal. But it also sets in motion a lot of incredibly uncomfortable questions about the War on Drugs.

          In other cases, drugs are incredibly helpful to people. There are people who suffer from mental illnesses that prevent them from being social, getting a job, or getting out of bed. If a drug can help you get out of bed and out of the house, and it’s legal, is that so bad?

          • Mr. Unpopular

            Medicines to treat diagnosed mental illnesses are quite different than slamming heroin or taking amphetamines until your heart amps out.

            I am Mr. Unpopular for a reason. I really believe that the only way to save lives from drug abuse is to deny access. That’s unpopular.

          • lroosemusic

            Thinking you can deny access to something society always has and always will want is unpopular and impossible.

        • Anonymous

          You know why prohibition happened, right? It wasn’t because people were getting too drunk on the weekend, it was because, among other things, people were like literally drinking a handle of booze a day. People were perpetually shitfaced and in terrible health.

          I’ll be the first to say there’s a prescription drug problem in this country, but to act like human beings haven’t been fucking themselves over with substances for centuries is just stupid.

    • lroosemusic

      You’re Mr. Unpopular for a reason.

      Damn right I want to get high where and when I want: in the right settings and in moderation. I’m successful and intelligent and I love my drugs of choice just like you do too. Difference is I admit it.

      Your blanket statement is woefully uninformed and history shows that criminalizing things society wants and accepts only leads to failure.

      You’re either trolling or stupid, or both.

  4. Mr. Unpopular

    I’d overdose so I would not have to listen to EDM. Boring, robotic, un-musical machines being manned by computer technicians. Yuck.

      • Mr. Unpopular

        Not sure if that was intended to change my mind, but it did not. I guess since I grew up with music played by persons (and not central processing units), I don’t get it.

        That’s o.k. I am going to listen to Bonnie Riatt right now to rehab my brain after listening to that.


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