I first came to know about Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), the Los Angeles based rave now travelling around the country, last year when my hospital took some of the patients that came from the event. I continue to read about ecstasy-related deaths at EDC in other cities and have many teenage patients attending these events.
As many of you know, there are several stages with music, dancers, and other entertainers, and of course some of the draw is the electronic music. Los Angeles banned the event again this year given the nightmare experience at the Coliseum but the EDC website shows many upcoming shows in U.S. cities so they are still going strong.
Some of the young people attending EDC just love the music and entertainment and don’t get into the ecstasy and drug scene, but that is the minority. Here is why EDC is dangerous and here are some things that should change so that we don’t lose another 16-year-old.
At the Los Angeles EDC, Jan 1st 2010, there were eighteen ecstasy-related emergency department visits and one death. In Dallas recently, the numbers were a little higher, so we aren’t learning much. Raves and ecstasy are a perfect storm for hyperthermia and hyponatremia which are the major risks associated with ecstasy use.
Ecstasy increases thirst, and users at raves are encouraged to drink lots of water to prevent rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown which can cause kidney failure) and hyperthermia. Many raves sell bottles of water for 5 dollars and should instead make it readily available. The problem is that drinking lots of water lowers your blood sodium, leading to hyponatremia (low blood sodium) and potentially death. So you need electrolytes as well, not just water.