Within days of Brittany Flannigan’s death at the House of Blues after allegedly overdosing on a form of ecstasy known as MDMA, or Molly, more suspected drug overdoses occurred on Saturday at other concert venues in Boston and New York City.
Boston Police officials are investigating three suspected drug overdoses at a Bank of America Pavilion concert on Saturday night. The men, all in their twenties, were taken to local hospitals for treatment. A University of New Hampshire student died on Saturday in a possible drug-related incident that caused the last day of the New York City Electric Zoo music festival to be canceled.
Brittany Flannigan, 19, a student at Plymouth State University, was sent to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital after an Aug. 23 concert by music artist DJ Zedd at the House of Blues in Boston ended at about 12:30 a.m. A man and a woman were also hospitalized, but survived and were listed in serious condition.
“As always, the safety of our guests is our top priority,” said Jay Anderson, spokesman for the House of Blues in a statement on Wednesday. “One individual has unfortunately passed away, and our thoughts go out to their family and friends for their loss. This matter is under investigation, and we are continuing to work with local officials.”
The club voluntarily shut down on Wednesday night for the second concert by Zedd to allow the investigation to continue, but reopened again on Thursday night. A hearing is expected with the Boston Licensing Board and the House of Blues management within the week.
Boston University Police Department officials released a statement on Friday alerting students about the dangers of Molly and other forms of ecstasy.
“In light of the recent incidents involving Molly and ecstasy, here are some basics facts about the drug,” the statement read. “People who use MDMA can become dehydrated through vigorous activity in a hot environment. When MDMA interferes with the body’s ability to regulate its temperature, it can cause dangerous overheating, called hyperthermia. This can lead to serious heart and kidney problems — or, rarely, death.”
As the techno and rave culture has increased in popularity over the years, so has the recreational use of Molly by concertgoers. Typically used in social settings such as dance clubs, MDMA’s effects are stimulated by visuals, sounds, smells and touch, according to The Drug Policy Alliance factsheet.
References to the drug have become more prevalent in popular culture, particularly in music. In Miley Cyrus’s song “We Can’t Stop,” she sings of “dancing with Molly.” Rapper Tyga has an entire song called “Molly,” with lyrics that say, “She poppin’ it and she snortin’ it … I’ve been searching everywhere, and I can’t seem to find Molly.”
Some students said they are fearful of drugs, especially after hearing about Flannigan’s death at the House of Blues.
“Honestly, I’m afraid of all drugs,” said Sabrina Rodriguez, a freshman in the College of Arts in Sciences. “I don’t do drugs at all. I just think that drugs will hurt in both the long run and the short run. Besides, I’m focusing a lot on my studies right now anyways because I’m paying so much to be here.”
Gigi Jordan, 22, a Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences graduate student, said she has never taken Molly, but has friends who have.
“I’ve never done it personally just because it doesn’t seem that appealing,” she said. “I have friends who have done it. They have enjoyed it, but they took different amounts.”
Jordan said Flannigan’s death could probably have been prevented if people understood the dangers of drugs and the symptoms.
“She could have taken too much, drank too much,or even had other drugs in her system by that point,” she said. “It’s a shame. It really is.”
A sophomore BU student, who wished to remain anonymous, said he or she has taken Molly before and enjoyed the experience.
“You get really jittery and then you feel a pure euphoria,” the student said. “A happiness comes over you that you can’t even describe. You just feel pure bliss, like nothing in the world could ever go wrong. Your body is just at a different level. Everything about you is heightened, and it’s one of the greatest feelings ever.”
The student said Flannigan should not have taken the drug if she did not know exactly what she was doing.
“It’s a large part of her own irresponsibility,” the student said. “If you don’t know exactly what you’re taking, you just shouldn’t do it. She just went too far. It’s always better if you don’t know your own limit to take less and roll less hard than to take too much and die.”
Steven Dufour contributed to the reporting of this article.