MDMA overdoses challenge EMS response at mass gatherings
Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P who currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, pens an article on the importance of EMS responses at large electronic dance music events, emphasizing that "public safety needs to adopt a harm reduction model, where it's made explicit that a participant who is suffering from an overdose is considered a patient, not a detainee."This article originally appeared on EMS1.com
The second day of the Hard Summer rave on Sunday, July 31, 2016 at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (Photo/Los Angeles Times/Francine Orr)
Illegal drugs and adverse environmental conditions are a potent combination at mass gathering events covered by EMS providers
The recreational use of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, better known as MDMA or Ecstasy, has been associated with large scale dancing events known as raves since at the least the mid-1980s. With the evolution of the electronic dance music and social acceptance of these once-underground events, raves have become nearly mainstream, drawing tens of thousands of participants to confined spaces to party.
The death of three participants at a well-known California rave again highlights the dangers of MDMA use under adverse environmental conditions and the need for EMS providers to be ready to rapidly access and manage patients who are in real danger of death.
MDMA is an amphetamine derivative, similar to methamphetamine. It stimulates receptors in the brain to release large amounts of neurotransmitters that in turn stimulate the sympathetic symptom...