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Culture of alcohol and drugs –a related article on Comcast Center alcohol/drug deaths (non-hazing but relevant in terms of culture)

Moderator:   As I work on the new book on hazing,  I am struck how the preventable deaths at this all-day festival remind me of the inability of bystanders to step in (hazing or any party situation) when potential “victims” are too far gone to help themselves.  If the alcohol and drug culture is so rampant, why aren’t pundits doing more to question presidential candidates why they aren’t more involved in these seemingly overwhelming issues involving national deaths due to alcohol and drugs?  Not BLAMING the candidates, mind you. Just asking them to come up with solutions. That should be part of their mission, don’t you think? Moderator

Excerpt follows:

MANSFIELD — Officials tonight said the rise in heavy drinking and drug use at the Comcast Center, where two men died last month of apparent overdoses, reflects a broader cultural problem and said the arena’s security staff has worked well with the local police force to try to mitigate the effects of reckless behavior.

“It’s an alcohol-soaked society,” said Mansfield Police Chief Arthur O’Neill during a public meeting of the Board of Selectmen at Town Hall.

O’Neill said police and security staff at the center are working closely together to limit the repercussions of substance abuse at center events.

“We have a well oiled machine down there between our police officers” and the security staff, he said.

O’Neill also expressed skepticism that drug-sniffing dogs could be effective at the center, since they are only able to work for about 20 minutes at a time.

“It would take dozens of dogs,” O’Neill said, adding that drug dogs can sometimes attack people.

Tonight’s discussion came after Connor Brandon, a 19-year-old from Acton, and Dominic Impelizzieri, 27, of Syracuse, N.Y., both died of drugs and ­alcohol in their systems at an all-day festival at the center on July 26.

Authorities said drug and alcohol use was rampant at the show, and 19 other people were hospitalized for drug-related problems. Some patrons took powerful combinations of ecstasy, PCP, and marijuana, officials said.

Less than a week later, ­police arrested 35 people at a hip-hop show and took scores more into protective custody for drunkenness at the center, which has a capacity of about 20,000.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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