A 25-year-old man has died from a suspected drug overdose during the Montebello Rockfest music festival in western Quebec.
Gatineau paramedics at the festival campground, approximately halfway between Ottawa and Montreal, were notified of a man in cardiac arrest at about 8 a.m. Friday.
The 25-year-old man was transported to hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Paramedics said the death could be drug-related. The man’s identity has not been released.
He was one of the nine people taken to hospital between Thursday afternoon, the festival’s opening day, and 9 a.m. Friday.
Two other people overdosed on drugs at the festival, with one requiring the opioid-reversing drug naloxone.
Paramedics from nearby communities such as Thurso and Saint-Andre-Avellin are on site.
The three-day festival bills itself as the largest rock festival in Canada
Naloxone kits, test strips handed out
Drug prevention groups have set up tents at the festival to educate festival goers about the dangers of various drugs.
They are also handing out naloxone kits and fentanyl test strips, which help people detect whether the opioid is present.
Around 1,500 people visited the two tents on Thursday, said Yves Séguin, director general of the centre d’intervention et de prévention en toxicomanie.
The organization handed out around 100 naloxone kits and nearly 1,000 fentanyl test strips that day.
“People are aware of the dangers. So that’s good. But at the same time, if there’s a lot of people coming in, it’s because there’s a lot of people using. But it’s normal in a festival like the Rockfest,” he said. “For us, it’s better to be there and do some prevention work than not to be there and close our eyes and say, ‘no no drugs are illegal.'”
Séguin said he realizes people want to have fun, but he wants to prevent another tragic incident like Friday’s death.