After a number of tragic overdoses at music festivals in the Los Angeles area, politicians are responding in typical statist fashion to prevent any further overdoses — ban music festivals.
According to Fox11, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis introduced a motion at a board meeting this week that would ban all music festivals on county property. The motion is a reactionary step following the death of two people at last weekend’s HARD Summer music festival at the Pomona Fairgrounds.
“I am deeply troubled by the fact that this is the third such death to happen in my district in the last year and a half. No one — no one should have to lose their life while attending a public concert,” Solis said.
She added that “these kinds of events on county-owned land should be banned until we conduct a full investigation into this matter.”
However, festivals and other events are not to blame for overdoses, or other personal decisions that attendees make on their own. This is especially important to consider when the events host anywhere between 10,000 and 100,000 people.
In an area with that many people, as populated as some towns are, it is inevitable that a wide variety of situations can pop up. In fact, any large event that hosts so many people see occasional deaths. Due to the large volume of people, the chances increase that something will go wrong somewhere. This goes for sporting events to parades and other types of events that are considered wholesome and family-friendly.
Some other factors to consider are the many unintended consequences of the drug war, which causes drugs to be more dangerous, and limits harm prevention policies that could be put into place to prevent overheating and drug overdoses.
In the black market, one of the major drawbacks is that there is no accountability among the people selling the drug. Since anyone can get kidnapped and thrown in a cage for even dealing with the stuff, it really doesn’t make sense for people to be plastering their names and logos all over the drugs.
In this age of corporate mercantilism, logos and branding may seem like a really tacky idea, but when looking at the black market we can see the value in such things. Someone who is selling a product with their name on it is going to go to far greater lengths to ensure the quality of their product, as opposed to someone who would remain anonymous.
This anonymity creates an incentive for people to be dishonest with what they sell. This could lead to rip-offs or downright contamination of the drug with unwanted harmful substances. This is why there was bathtub gin that would make you go blind if you drank it during alcohol prohibition. The drug war actually protects the identities of those selling deadly drugs by making it acceptable for them to be anonymous. On the streets, you get what you get and you deal with the consequences.
This is also the reason some of the harder street drugs today are cut with toxic chemicals that increase the chance of overdose ten fold. The fact that the drugs need to be smuggled also creates the incentive to make drugs more potent, and thus in some circumstances more dangerous. The increased potency and decreased availability inevitably leads to a massive increase in cost. The increased cost is a whole other issue with its own unique side effects in regards to drug safety. When the price of the real drugs go up, people just start huffing paint thinner, smoking bath salts and cooking up crystal meth in their basements, which is many times more dangerous than the unbranded drugs on the black market.
To fight against adultered drugs, many volunteers have created drug testing centers such as Dance Safe and The Bunk Police, but this year they have been kicked out of a number of festivals because promoters are afraid of appearing as if they condone drug use. This type of attitude has discouraged promoters from enacting common sense safety measures, like drug testing, free water centers, EMS tents and safe haven policies for people who are in danger of overdose.