Thousands of Electric Forest attendees received the following text this past weekend: “STOP TAKING ANY MUSHROOMS. SEVERAL PEOPLE HAVE OVERDOSED FROM FENTANYL ON MUSHROOMS. ODs at the Hangar and Tripolee. Confirmed by medical staff. Text your friends, tell the people around you.”
The incendiary text rippled across the festival grounds and beyond, leaving many wondering if this fentanyl-laced mushroom claim was legitimate or simply the result of a rumor taking flight during one of the biggest camping festivals in the US.
DanceSafe, a leading public health nonprofit that often dispels rumors from confirmed scenarios relating to drugs and music gatherings, has deemed the viral Electric Forest text as “contextually unlikely.”
“Way too many people are dying from fentanyl-contaminated cocaine…for the world to suddenly shift its attention to the one-in-a-million, contextually unlikely scenario of fentanyl-contaminated mushrooms,” said the organization in a statement published on their website. “Once the majority of the world has basic, foundational drug education available, we can move on to discussing the outliers. Until then, these kinds of lengthy conversations about contextually unlikely scenarios might actually be costing lives…”
The nonprofit cited the following reasons in support of their final evaluation of the fentanyl-mushroom claim in a statement published to their website.
“Providers supplied inconsistent information to the third party who reported the claim. No information has been directly quoted from any of the individuals involved—medical, patients, or witnesses alike—including symptoms, timelines, medical conditions, physical health at the time of admittance.”
The Rothbury Woods music event welcomed over 45,000 festival goers, and despite the panicked text that urgently circulated across the festival grounds, there were only seven arrests for assault and “other offenses” and no deaths or overdoses reported, according to the Michigan State Police Hart Post.
“The language used to present the information,” wrote DanceSafe, “suggested that it was confirmatory (i.e. advanced drug checking, toxicology, symptom reports, and direct information from identified responders) despite insufficient evidence. If confirmed, this claim would represent a one-in-a-million, first-of-its-kind outlier case. Given that it does not currently have sufficient evidence behind it, this possibility does not merit consideration.”
The Denver-based nonprofit has since pivoted to Reddit for an AMA session to answer any questions attendees may have and provide further education for those interested in learning more about opioids, drug testing, and speculations regarding illicit substances at live events.
“The spread of contextually unlikely claims distracts educational efforts around things that are actually happening and threatening people’s lives on a daily basis,” stated DanceSafe. “This is not to say that contextually unlikely things are impossible, or couldn’t start happening in the future, but they definitely should not be prioritized.”