“Two concert-goers dead, more than twenty hospitalized, three arrested, and over fifty citations issued.” – This isn’t the type of headline you’d expect from a place like Howard County, Maryland. But at this past year’s Mad Decent Block Party, that headline became the reality for this quiet Maryland suburb tucked between Washington D.C. and Baltimore.
In its 6th year, the annual concert held its all-day stop at the Merriweather Post Pavilion on August 1st, 2014. By 9 p.m. that night, 20-year old Tyler Fox Viscardi of Raleigh, North Carolina was rushed to the Howard County General Hospital where he later died of an apparent drug overdose. That same night, a 17-year old from Woodbridge, Virginia was also taken to the hospital, where he died two days later from another apparent drug overdose. In addition, there were 20 other hospitalizations and the police counted 50 citations for underage drinking. There were 3 arrests made as well – assault on an officer, domestic assault, and marijuana possession – reports WBAL.
Tyler was a student at the University of Maryland, and a rising junior government and politics major. He was an active member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, and held an internship with Aflac over the summer. Tyler was also passionate about sports, both as a spectator and a participant. Tyler loved following the New York Giants and the Chelsea soccer team, his parents said. When it came to his own athletic interests, Tyler played soccer and lacrosse through high school, and also loved golfing, skiing and surfing. “Lacrosse was his favorite specifically for him to play, Tyler’s mother, Amy Viscardi, said. “He really loved lacrosse.”
Tyler was described by friends and family alike as eager to help others, and that trait was reflected in his interest in service at both the national and international levels. He went on a volunteer service trip to Peru in high school and visited Pittsburgh three times with Greenville Life Teen Missions, sponsored by his local church, Amy Viscardi said. She added that he also enjoyed volunteering for Give2TheTroops, which sends care packages to soldiers.
MDMA – a popular drug known as Ecstasy or Molly – is commonly associated with a lot of electronic music concerts and is often the culprit in these overdose deaths. The operator of the Merriweather Pavillion where the Mad Decent Block Party took place released a statement about the growing drug problems at concerts and festivals as well as his condolences for the victims’ families:
“This drug epidemic is no longer confined to specific demographics, or time of day, or geography, or lifestyle. It’s just everywhere and, and unfortunately, this generation of teens and 20-somethings has not learned this lesson yet. It’s just heartbreaking. This particular type of incident is not the problem of those who should have known better…it’s the problem of those too young to believe it could happen to them. Sadly we find ourselves in the classic position of trying to tell kids not to do something they think is fun.”