Last Thursday (July 26 2012,) two people died and approximately 20 people were hospitalized, when the “Identity Theft” music tour held at the Comcast Center in Mansfield erupted into what has been described as blizzard of alcohol and drug use. The Comcast Center holds about 20,000 people.
The Mansfield Police Chief stated that alcohol and other drugs – reportedly including PCP, LSD, Ecstasy and marijuana – pervaded the concert. He has commented that there was so much drug and alcohol use at the concert that it harkened back to the Seventies, when drug use was rampant. In total, 45 people were also arrested on various drug and alcohol charges, in addition to the deaths and injuries.
Drugs such as Powdered PCP – known as “ozone,” “rocket fuel,” “love boat,” or “embalming fluid,” are often associated with unpredictable and often violent behavior. Ecstasy is frequently used in club or dance settings and it can make users feel undesirable effects immediately, including anxiety, agitation, and recklessness.
However, as a Norfolk County drug lawyer, I do not believe that marijuana should be blamed for the Comcast Center deaths and injuries. Marijuana, unlike hard drugs, rarely, if ever, makes someone aggressive, and in fact, usually accomplishes the exact opposite. Marijuana users tend to be very, very mellow. As a Norfolk County criminal defense lawyer, I’m in the courtroom every day, and I can assure you based on more than 20 years of experience defending criminal cases: Alcohol is the most pervasive drug – legal or illegal – that causes violent behavior. I would say that cocaine could be an easy second behind alcohol, but alcohol occupies the Number One spot when it comes to inciting aggressive behavior. If you’re not convinced, you should consider where and why the term “barroom brawl” became so common. Alcohol, even though a central nervous system depressant, typically brings out the worst of aggression in people. It causes them to do things they would not typically do, which are typically aggressive, combative and disruptive.
No one is quite sure how the drugs and alcohol were brought in to the Comcast Center, and so far, no one is commenting on that. In terms of alcohol sales, the Comcast Center vendors will supposedly not sell more than two alcoholic beverages to a person at a time. In addition, alcohol sales are supposed to end at least one hour before the shows start. It may later be discovered that inadequate security measures were taken by the Comcast Center on that night. If that were the case, then civil lawsuits may end up being brought against the owners and operators of the Comcast Center, as well as commercial businesses connected with the bands and performers that appeared that night, based upon negligent security claims.
Massachusetts drug offenses are some of the most common criminal charges prosecuted in our state. Prosecutors and judges in Massachusetts aggressively prosecute these drug charges, and the penalties are severe. If there illegal drug use did take place at the Comcast Center last Thursday, then those cases will be prosecuted. But I would not hesitate to say that if violence ruled that event, the last substance that would have caused that kind of behavior, would be marijuana. If police and others want to find a chemical culprit, I’d look no further than the concession stand for beer, or the local package store.