An A&E consultant at Altnagelvin says 30 out of 100 casualty admittances on Saturday night were drug and alcohol related with reports of “extreme illness” and assaults by drunk and stoned revellers who attended the Club MTV gig in Ebrington.
Mr Paul Baylis, Emergency Medicine Consultant at Altnagelvin Hospital, said: “There was a significant increase in attendances at Altnagelvin Hospital’s Emergency Department from the early evening on Saturday through to the early hours of Sunday morning as a result of the outdoor MTV concert in the town.
“There was a large number of 16 to 25 year olds who presented at the Department, most of them intoxicated with alcohol and or recreational drugs.
“Out of the 100 overall attendances at the Emergency Department between 6pm on Saturday, September 10 and 6am on Sunday, September 11, 30 of them were alcohol or drugs related.
“There was also an increase in the number of cases of assault attending our service whom the injured patients stated that they had been assaulted by drunk or stoned assailants.
“Weekends are usually quite busy in our Emergency Department anyway. Our staff were managing their usual busy workload alongside having to deal with the increase in intoxicated young people presented to the Department. “Many of the additional intoxicated young patients were extremely distressed and required significant nursing support.
“In essence as a direct consequence of the MTV event our usual challenging Emergency Department Saturday evening environment became a more dangerous environment for all our patients as our fixed staffing resources strived to cope with the additional workload.
“Some of those who attended the Emergency Department were extremely ill and needed to receive intensive care treatment. Many needed overnight observation.
Mr Baylis added: “All young people, and their parents, need to be conscious of the dangers associated with consuming alcohol and drugs in an uncontrolled environment. The drugs that are being peddled at these events are not regulated in any way and there is no way of knowing the dangers of consuming them, especially when washed down with alcohol.
“The effects of drugs and alcohol often result in paranoid and distressing behaviours which directly endangers the health and safety of the person taking them and also the safely of the people around them.
“In addition they can lead to extreme vulnerability to all forms of assault as they lose their ability to object to what may happen to them.
“Personal safety should be of paramount importance when frequenting outdoor events. All parents should give careful consideration before allowing their children to attend such an event in the future.
Robert Allen at Legacy Promotions, speaking on BBC Radio Foyle, said some young people drinking alcohol outside the event had to be treated by Club MTV security when they turned up trying to get in.
“At the gates we were dealing with people who were inebriated under the age of 18,” he said.
“We have a duty of care to either treat them there or take them to our triage. Regardless of what age they are, we had to treat them.”