GEM Fest Drug Accusations: One Dead, 20 Hospitalized

GEM Fest Drug Accusations: One Dead, 20 Hospitalized

A 22-year old girl died on Saturday allegedly due to an overdose of drugs at the famous month-long Georgian Electronic Music Festival (GEM Fest) in the Black Sea coastal town of Anaklia. The girl was taken to Zugdidi Hospital but died eight hours later. It is alleged that she took the psychoactive drug “Bio,” also known as Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB), which has been seen increasingly throughout Georgia of late, Georgia Today reports.

Over the last 5 days, around 20 people have been taken to hospital from the festival with similar symptoms to the deceased girl. One of them is a citizen of Ukraine. All but one of them were discharged from hospital on Monday.

Giorgi Sigua, GEM Fest founder, says that the festival territory is strictly controlled by in-house security and local police and no drugs are sold there. "From the very first day of the festival, entrance has been strictly controlled and the maximum safety measures applied due to the number of visitors expected,” he stated.

Around 20,000 people are said to be visiting the festival on a daily basis.

“Representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs are mobilized at the entrances as well as on the coastline. Nobody is allowed to sell narcotic substances on the territory,” he emphasized.

Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has so far detained five people for drug crimes at GEM Fest. “MIA law enforcers seized 38 pills of 'Ecstasy' and 6547 grams of 'MDMA' during personal searches,” the ministry reports.