The Electric Daisy Carnival is one of the biggest raves in the world. And while rave drugs may be growing in popularity, EDC has a zero tolerance policy.
"No matter how hard Insomniac tried to prevent [drug use], it's going to happen," Madalyn McElwain said.
Insomniac who puts on EDC, said they expect 400,000 people to attend the three-day festival and the DEA said with that many people coming to town, it's inevitable some will be looking for drugs, and that's what has them concerned.
DEA assistant special agent, Dan Niell said, "This is 700 ecstasy tablets being sold which turned out to be meth," while showing a picture of blue pills.
Niell said his concern is that, people who are buying street drugs and they are not getting what they think they are. Instead they're getting 'fake street drugs' laced with dangerous chemicals like fentanyl.
"Folks are using it and not realizing it and getting it," he said. "(Two-hundredths of a microgram) of it is a fatal dose."
Fentanyl is a synthetic drug with a high risk for addiction, and the DEA said it's been flooding into Las Vegas and being mixed with all kinds of street drugs. Niell said fentanyl is usually manufactured in Mexico and makes its way up Interstate 15 through California and into the valley.
"When you look at photos, you cannot tell the difference between oxycodone, fake oxycodone and ecstasy."
And while a surge in fentanyl is scary enough, it's not even the most sinister thing the DEA is seeing, he said.
"Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroine," Niell said. "Now carfentanil is 10 times more potent than fentanyl. And it's an elephant tranquilizer."
This spike in 'fake' or adulterated street drugs had garnered the nonprofit Dance Safe a lot of attention. Their organization specialized in harm reduction at festivals like EDC, and even sells a drug test kit. The testing kit allows for people to test what chemicals are in the drugs they purchase. While many argue they are encouraging and facilitating drug use, the group said they're mitigating harm.
"I'll tell you when we check these substances and people find out it's not MDMA, a lot of people make a different decision," Madalyn McElwain with Dance Safe said.
Dance Safe said they go to festivals around the world but receive push back from Insomniac, the parent company of EDC. Dance Safe said Insomniac won't allow them on property because of "the rave act." It's a piece of legislation that allows for lawsuits if a company hosts an event which knowingly has drug use. McElwain said that's wrong.
"Just having this information over the weekend can help prevent deaths."
Last year at EDC there were a total of 1090 total medical calls, and 95 felony arrests.
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