From the LA Times we learn that the Los Angeles edition of the Electric Daisy Carnival held this past weekend resulted in about 120 emergency room visits. An estimated 185,000 persons attended the event.
As one might predict, at least one person died from taking Ecstasy. LA Times:
At 15, Sasha Rodriguez did not meet the minimum age requirement of 16 to enter the event without a legal guardian. Family and friends said that she attended the party with a 16-year-old friend and that doctors told them she had the hallucinogenic drug Ecstasy in her system when she was taken by ambulance to the emergency room.
Rodriguez ... died at California Hospital Medical Center downtown before 5:30 p.m. Tuesday after her family decided to remove the comatose teen from life support.
There is a little tickling of evidence that perhaps women or girls are more sensitive to hyponatremia. This is a fairly common finding in MDMA-associated medical emergency and death. MDMA releases arginine vasopressin, aka antidiuretic hormone, thus causing the body to retain water. What I need to follow up on a bit is whether there is any indication that MDMA-induced hyponatremia may be more severe or have more severe consequences (i.e., it may be an indirect effect) in women.
Ms. Rodriguez may have suffered from hyponatremia.
[Sasha Rodriguez] was one of two rave attendees who were in critical condition at California Hospital Medical Center after the 14th annual Electric Daisy Carnival.
"She came in as an emergency patient from the rave. She was in respiratory arrest when she got here, and she never recovered," said Salgado, who said Sasha was in a coma and experienced multiple organ failure.
Doctors told Sasha's family that she had the drug ecstasy in her system when the ambulance got her to the emergency room.
A 16-year old friend who was with Sasha at the rave said Sasha was dancing, got hot and began quickly drinking cold water.
Doctors said "her sodium, electrolytes were so low that when she started replacing them so quickly [with cold water], ecstasy messes up your body's ability to process that, so it threw her body out of whack," said Keith.
I'm struck by this tragedy, of course. As you know, I'm a parent and I can think of nearly nothing so horrifying as to get a call telling me one of my children has died.
What I find sort of interesting as a scientist, however, is that these tragedies are met with calls for banning raves. This is similar to the hoopla in the earlier part of this year when the United Kingdom got concerned about some deaths associated with mephedrone / 4-methylmethcathinone and subsequently put this previously legal substance under legal control. These actions are certainly understandable...and they appear politically dramatic.
Still, why aren't these events followed by calls to learn more about the mechanisms by which these individuals have died? Why is there not a tremendous amount of political gasbaggery being blown at scientific understanding? Wouldn't that be a more productive response* in the long term?
*What can I say? I believe in the hammer of science and knowledge..guess what kind of nails I construe in the world about me?