Headed to Squamish? "Don't trust your drug dealer" warn authorities

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Thousands of revelers are heading to the Squamish Valley Music Festival this weekend, but authorities are warning those who choose to party a little harder need to take extra precautions in the wake of a series of drug- and alcohol-related deaths at festivals nation-wide this summer.

Barb McLintock of the B.C. Coroner’s Service told CBC News she expects festival attendees will indulge in drugs, but urges them to follow some simple safety protocols, such as ensuring you are not isolated, and not waiting to seek help if you don’t feel well.

But McLintock also cautions anyone looking to score drugs at the concert site should be particularly careful. “Don’t trust your drug dealer. The quality control is poor,” says McLintock, who goes on to explain that “rave drugs” such as Ecstasy can cause different reactions among takers.

Another concern for this weekend’s Squamish Valley Music Festival is the weather. Hot and dry conditions can lead to dehydration, which can worsen the effects of drugs.

Health and safety are of the utmost concern for organizers and authorities when it comes to summer music festivals. In fact, worry that protocols were not firmly in place prior to the recent Boonstock festival led to the event’s inability to secure a liquor license. Still, a 24-year-old woman died of an overdose at the music festival. Last month, a 21-year-old man died at the Pemberton Music Festival; foul play has been ruled out in the death, however the cause remains under investigation.

In response to elevated concerns about attendees’ welfare, Squamish Music Festival director Paul Runnals said they are ready to handle any and all emergencies. The RCMP will be on site, as well as over 500 security guards. There will be eight full medical tents set up at the concert site, and organizers hope anyone who believes they need medical attention do no hesitate to seek aid.

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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