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Coachella Concertgoer Dies After Apparent Drug or Alcohol Overdose

Another concertgoer appears to have fallen victim to an overdose, this time a 24-year-old university student attending the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio.

Kimchi Truong of Oakland, who was taken to a hospital last weekend after collapsing at the festival, died Thursday as the result of an apparent drug or alcohol overdose, according to the Riverside County coroner. Truong had been a student at California State University-East Bay and was fluent in Vietnamese, her LinkedIn page said. Results of toxicology tests to determine the precise cause of death won’t be available for four to six weeks.

Drugs and alcohol “are always a concern and something we would look at,” Sgt. Curt James of the coroner’s office told KPCC.  “When somebody of that age dies suddenly, we would be concerned.”

Concern over the deaths of young festivalgoers has been felt nationwide. While concert promoter Goldenvoice issued a statement Friday calling Truong’s death an “unfortunate but isolated incident,” drug overdoses have become all too common at music festivals in recent years.

Truong’s death is the latest in a string of such fatalities. Last September, EZoo was canceled in New York City when two festivalgoers died after overdosing on Molly. That same day, in Washington, D.C., a young woman died after collapsing at a rave concert. And three days earlier, another young woman took a fatal overdose at a concert in Boston.

Molly, also known as MDMA or Ecstasy, has long been popular among people who go to dance festivals. The drug floods the brain with dopamine and serotonin, making people relaxed, affectionate, euphoric and emotionally open. However, it can also cause dehydration, increased heart rate and temperature spikes that can result in liver failure, stroke, heart attack and death.

Addiction psychiatrist Dr. David Sack, CEO of Elements Behavioral Health, told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin on Friday that concertgoers don’t often know what they’re taking and are drinking at the same time, a potentially deadly combination.

“When you add alcohol to opiate medication …. you significantly increase the chance of an overdose,” Sack told the Bulletin.

Sack said the most common drugs at festivals include OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin, typically used in combination with alcohol.

The two-weekend music and arts festival opened last weekend and returns for its second installment Saturday.

Said promoter Goldenvoice: “We are saddened to learn the individual has died…. Our thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends.”

 

 

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