The apparent drug overdose deaths of a Derry woman and University of New Hampshire student have prompted the organizers of a Belmont musical festival to promote “responsible partying.”
Meanwhile, Southern New Hampshire substance abuse counselors and law enforcement say the drug linked to the deaths of Brittany Flannigan, 19, of Derry and University of New Hampshire junior Olivia Rotondo, 20, of Providence, R.I., is relatively new to the area.
Flannigan, who would have begun her sophomore year this week at Plymouth State University, and two others fell ill last week while attending a concert at the House of Blues nightclub in Boston. The 2012 Pinkerton Academy graduate died later that morning while the other two survived.
Rotondo died Saturday night after attending the three-day Electric Zoo music festival in New York City. A 23-year-old New York man also died of an overdose while attending the festival.
They all are believed to have taken the popular dance club drug “Molly” or MDMA — a potent form of ecstasy known to produce immediate euphoria and then depression, according to local substance abuse experts.
When the Filterswep festival is held in Belmont on Oct. 5, a main theme of the event will be enjoying electronic dance music without using Molly or any other type of drug, according to Michelle Nigro.
Nigro is a spokeswoman for 11Onenine Production, organizer of Filterswep. The festival is being held in conjunction with the Dance for Paralysis Foundation at Lakes Region Casino.
She said the deaths have prompted 11Onenine Production and others putting on the event to send a message about the importance of “responsible partying.”
The acts include Milkman, Keys N’ Krates, Break Science, Viceroy, Crimes Pays and Outlet. A tribute to Flannigan and Rotondo is being planned, she said.
“A lot of the DJs are upset about what is happening,” Nigro said. “They want to do this now while it’s still on people’s minds.”