Police tracking down source of drugs that led to 20 hospitalizations at Columbia concert

Drug expert Mike Gimbel explains 'Molly' market

COLUMBIA, Md. - Police are actively tracking down the source of 20 drug overdoses, or drug-related illnesses that ended two lives at a concert in Columbia.

Officials speculate that the affected concertgoers might have ingested a drug that was passed off as “Molly” typically referred to as a “pure” form of the club drug ecstasy.

Drug experts contend that there is no such thing as a safe or “pure” drug , but the name recognition of Molly has made matters worse.

SEE | Baltimore area law enforcement officials on patrol for 'Molly'

These kids want Molly ,” Mike Gimbel, a Baltimore County drug expert, and former county drug czar, said.  “And if somebody tells them it's Molly, what do they know?  People are taking advantage of these young people by selling them bad dope.”

The family of North Carolina man Tyler Viscardi however believe the 20-year-old drank “toxic water” that was given to him by another attendee of the Mad Decent Block Party, held at Merriweather Post Pavilion.


A 17-year-old boy from Woodbridge, Virginia also died from what officials believed was a drug-related overdose, although results of a toxicology report were not released by Monday Aug. 4, three days after the concert.

“This has been happening at all these electronic dance music concerts. EDM is the hot music and part of that experience is taking Ecstasy or Molly,” Gimbel said. 

Last summer, University of Virginia honors student Shelly Goldsmith died after an EDM concert in Washington D.C.  Concerts in Boston, Las Vegas and New York have also ended with young people at the morgue.

In addition to finding out exactly what killed the two young men last week at Merriweather, Gimbel said it's time for local and state authorities to declare Molly a public health issue. He's calling for major changes at future EDM concerts.

“We need to have more paramedics there, we need to have more enforcement there, drug dogs we need better pat down,” Gimbel said. "If they're in there taking this, what's going to happen. If we can get to them sooner maybe we can save their lives.”