August 14, 2014 6:42 pm

Dangerous drugs a concern for police at music festivals

The Manitoba Electronic Music Exhibition is bigger than ever before but organizers aren't worried it will fall in the potentially more dangerous footsteps of similar electronic festivals.

Lauren McNabb / Global News

WINNIPEG – The Manitoba Electronic Music Exhibition is bigger than ever before but organizers aren’t worried it will fall in the potentially more dangerous footsteps of similar electronic festivals.

Two people died of suspected drug overdoses at an electronic music festival in Toronto earlier this month and another in BC.

The culprit is believed to be ecstasy.

While Winnipeg Police don’t know how prevalent it is in Winnipeg, Det. Sgt. Natalie Aitken says they do know its increasingly laced with dangerous additives.

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“Don’t believe your friend who’s getting it from a friend who’s getting it from a friend,” said Aitken, with the Winnipeg Police Service. “You have no idea what’s being placed in these.”

And she says users also don’t know the potentially deadly effect dancing and drugs can have. Ecstasy can deplete the body of necessary electrolytes, which is further compounded by heat and dehydration.

Festival organizers say it has never been an issue before and unlike other events on the country, there is more “boutique”.

“We are all about more sophisticated music, something that appeals to more of a wider audience,” says MEME organizer Nathan Zahn. “It can be for everyone, people in their sixties or people with kids.”

Since it started five years ago it has grown from 40 acts to 60 and from 1000 festival goers to ten thousand over the three-day event.

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