August 9, 2015 4:02 pm
Updated: August 10, 2015 7:35 pm

17 people taken to hospital from Calgary music festival for substance abuse issues

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WATCH ABOVE: A dozen electronic music fans had to be rushed to hospital over the weekend from the Chasing Summer music festival after suffering substance abuse issues. Global’s Gary Bobrovitz reports.

CALGARY – Seventeen people were taken to hospital for substance abuse issues from the Chasing Summer music festival that took place at Fort Calgary on Friday and Saturday.

Five people were in serious condition, 11 were in stable condition, and one person’s condition was considered potentially life-threatening.

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Concert organizer Union Events said in a statement its “comprehensive emergency response plan allowed our team to effectively respond to any incidents as they arose in a quick and efficient manner.” The statement said 24 free water spouts were available for use and that its “policy of offering free drinking water to patrons helps reduce cases of dehydration.”

Scroll down to read the full statement

The patients’ age ranged from 18 to 38 years old; ten of them were women and seven were men. Eight people were taken to hospital Friday night and nine on Saturday.

At the same music festival last year, ten people were taken to hospital.

EMS said most of the victims had ingested large amounts of alcohol and at least one other illicit substance, frequently MDMA (ecstasy, “E”, or “Molly”) or marijuana (THC). EMS said others had also ingested cocaine, GHB, or Ketamine.

Patients who appeared to be in serious condition had trouble breathing or were unresponsive, according to EMS.

Many of the stable patients were uncooperative and aggressive toward first responders who were trying to help them, requiring physical and chemical restraint, as well as the assistance of Calgary Police, in order to ensure their safety and the safety of those around them.

Full statement from Union Events:

“At this weekend’s Chasing Summer Music Festival in Calgary, Alberta, several patients were transported from the festival site to local medical facilities for a variety of medical issues, including suspected substance use, dehydration, and physical injuries.

With several hundred event security staff and volunteers onsite, along with our onsite medical team, pay duty AHS EMT, pay duty Calgary Police Service officers, and on-site ambulance, our comprehensive emergency response plan allowed our team to effectively respond to any incidents as they arose in a quick and efficient manner.

Our policy of offering free drinking water to patrons helps reduce cases of dehydration. We encouraged patrons to bring empty bottles for filling with them to the festival, and had 24 free water spouts available for their use. If they chose, patrons could also purchase water and other beverages from all food and beverage outlets on-site.

Festival producers at Union Events would like to express our support for all of our patrons and wish those few who needed further attention a quick and full recovery.

Safety is a year-round topic for Union Events, Canada’s largest independent concert and special event producer. Our safety team works closely with local emergency services on a constant basis – including police, fire, and medical, as well as other community stakeholders – to continually improve upon an already comprehensive emergency response plan.”

With files from Erika Tucker and Tracy Nagai

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