COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ)–Chaotic concert. Ambulances were called to the Merriweather Post Pavilion after an electronic music concert. Dozens were treated for drug overdoses and two people died. Now officials want answers.
The underage drinking and drug use turned out of control very quickly in every aspect. The music festival is now under investigation, including the drug suppliers. There are two victims: a University of Maryland student and a teenager from northern Virginia.
A teenager has now died from a drug overdose at the Mad Decent Block Party at Merriweather, a music festival that took a frightening turn with 20 hospitalized. The 17-year-old is the second to die.
Police confirm that 20-year-old Tyler Viscardi, a University of Maryland student, also overdosed. His family calls it a "terrible mishap."
His family said, "According to his close college friend who was with him, the afternoon was hot and he drank water that was given to him by others who were in the area. We believe that this contained a substance, unbeknownst to him, to which he had a toxic reaction."
Howard County police believe that substance could be MDMA, also known as ecstasy and Molly.
"We do believe that that's something is commonly used at these types of music festivals so we think that's why we saw a prevalence of Molly at this particular festival because, as it travels around the country, that's pretty typical," said Sherry Llewellyn.
There have been similar deaths at music festivals nationwide but none at the same event at Merriweather last year.
"We did have a number of people transported but nothing like what we saw this year in terms of having two overdose deaths," Llewellyn said.
Molly has been glamorized on the music scene and is behind more than 22,000 ER visits each year.
"They were mixing the Molly in the water, shaking it up," said one man. "People would come up and take a hit from some unknown person for $5 or $10."
"They will often mix ecstasy with other drugs, especially at parties, and I think that the combination of these drugs makes them all the more toxic," said Dr. Damon Raskin.
Victim Tyler Viscardi's family says they are devastated and he'll always be in their hearts.
The medical examiner is working to complete autopsy results on Viscardi and the teen who died. That will include toxicology reports. The others who were hospitalized have been treated and released.
This is the Viscardi family's entire statement:
"We are devastated by the sudden loss of our beloved Tyler. He was the victim of a terrible mishap. Details are not clear yet, but we know this much. He was attending a music festival in Maryland with some friends. According to his close college friend who was with him, the afternoon was hot and he drank water that was given to him by others who were in the area. We believe that this contained a substance, unbeknownst to him, to which he had a toxic reaction. He was taken to a nearby hospital, but the reaction proved fatal. This tragic accident has taken Tyler from us. He will always be in our hearts."
Police also confiscated 60 fake IDs and cited 50 for underage drinking.