Two dozen concertgoers in northeast Ohio suffered medical symptoms Saturday (Aug. 6) after they ate candy laced with a drug found in marijuana.
No fatalities were reported at the Ohio Dreams sports camp complex in Butler, about 60 miles northeast of Columbus, where the weekend-long EST 2016 rap music festival was being held. The concert was dubbed "The Last Weekend on Earth."
Maj. Joe Masi of the Richland County Sheriff's Department told the Mansfield News Journal someone began tossing out bags of the colorful candies Saturday at around 11 a.m. The packages contained about 20 pieces each and were marked "prescribed medibles" with a reference to a commercial candy brand, according to photos posted to social media.
Masi said each piece had "a very, very high dose of THC," the chemical that gives marijuana its mind-altering effects. Only one or two candies would get a user high, but some people were eating whole packages, officials said.
Lt. Joe Petrycki, commander of the METRICH regional drug task force, said early reports of concertgoers overdosing was too strong a description. He said THC usually gives people a sense of euphoria.
"They didn't lose consciousness," he said. "They just felt different."
Ambulances loaded with victims started arriving at OhioHealth in nearby Mansfield around 4 p.m., said hospital spokeswoman Nikki Workman.
She said 24 people were treated, including with the overdose antidote naloxone. The arrivals had ended by early evening.
"I feel like it's under control at this point," she said.
WEWS-TV reported the person giving out the candies was a man wearing a gray baseball cap with a red visor and a black T-shirt with a marijuana leaf on it.
The festival, headlined by Cleveland rapper Machine Gun Kelly, was set to continue through the weekend. About 3,000 people were at the music festival on Saturday.