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Ecstacy Led to Deaths of Two Concertgoers in Tampa, says Medical Examiner

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Abuse of MDMA, known colloquially as "ecstacy," led to the deaths of a Kissimmee woman and Melbourne man attending a Tampa music festival, according to the Hillsborough County medical examiner.

According to officials, Katie Bermudez had turned twenty-one the week previous to the festival. She exhibited a high temperature, elevated heart rate, and brain swelling at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa prior to her death. Life support was withdrawn by her family after they were advised that her brain activity had ceased. The Valencia College student's toxicology report indicated the presence of MDMA in her system as well as apparently high but non-fatal levels of caffeine.

Melbourne's Alex Haynes was twenty-two at the time of his passing at St. Joseph's Hospital. The MDMA in his system caused his death, according to the medical examiner. Toxicology tests also found lorazepam (Ativan) and midazolam (Versed), which are both commonly-abused Schedule IV sedatives. The latter two substances were not indicated as causes of his death, however.

The medical examiner found both overdoses to be accidental in nature.

The duo, who were hospitalized in May, were among the fifty-seven individuals taken to area hospitals after the Sunset Music Festival at Raymond James Stadium. Twenty-five others were arrested for felonies, eight for misdemeanors, and sixteen were cited for cannabis use.

MDMA, known to chemists as 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, also goes by the name "Mandy" in the United Kingdom and "Molly" in the United States as well as by various forms and abbreviations for the word "ecstacy." The Schedule I drug has been a staple of the rave culture for decades. It has no accepted medical uses at the present time. Although a federal judge in New York ruled in favor of the ACLU's contention that federal sentencing guidelines are "selective and incomplete" in 2011, such sentencing guidelines are still routinely used in prosecutions for MDMA.

If you find yourself facing a state or Federal felony drug charge, contact us today. Attorneys in the Law Offices of Bjorn Brunvand have been representing people from around the world facing such charges in the Tampa Bay-area for a quarter century.

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