AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB) — Officials at UMass Amherst have announced that two upcoming electronic dance music concerts have been cancelled over continuing concerns over the drug ‘Molly.’
The move affects the shows by Above & Beyond on October 4 and Pretty Lights on October 30, both of which were slated to be held at the Mullins Center.
The university had previously cancelled another show, which was scheduled for September, after the deaths of seven concert-goers in Boston and New York were linked to the drug, which is a potent form of MDMA or Ecstacy.
In an email sent to students Thursday, UMass’ interim Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Campus Life Enku Gelaye says, “Unfortunately, the factors that led to cancellation of the Sept. 21 concert have not positively shifted. In fact, we have grown even more concerned about ongoing reports of overdoses at such events. The Molly-taking culture at these shows is real and now exceedingly dangerous to the health and safety of concert attendees.”
“It basically makes your body, when you take too much of it and you overdose on it, overheat,” Amherst Fire Captain Jeffery Olmstead said. “That you burn up your own body from the inside out and that’s when you really get into trouble and it’s really hard to fix.”
That email was also signed by Student Government President Zachary Broughton, who was involved in the discussions with the university leading up to the decision to cancel the shows.
“A lot of people are mad and saying that UMass is taking the fun out of the school, it’s not like how it used to be before, and just because it’s the fault of some stupid kids in another state,” student Annie Healy.
“It’s pretty dangerous what’s going on with some of the MDMA stuff so they just want to be safe and I think they are just looking for solution to come up soon, some sort of middle ground,” UMass student Mike McGrath said.
“It’s not going to prevent anything from happening, people are still going to use ‘Molly,’ regardless,” student Melanie Miksis said.
That’s what firefighters worry about. They say the only benefit of having the shows is they are on standby with triage centers to help.
“So we do provide some structure to that as opposed to the unknown of a Friday, or Saturday night, or a Thursday night sometimes of not knowing where you are going to go or not knowing where there will be a crowd and we see crowds here pretty regularly and they can be anywhere,” Captain Olmstead said.
Gelaye adds that, understanding that drug abuse isn’t confined to electronic dance concerts, UMass is working to address the dangers of ‘Molly’ and other drugs with the greater campus community.
Refunds for tickets to either cancelled October show are available at the original point of purchase.