Vernon rave well-prepared for drug use

Police shut down a rave style party at the Vernon Rec Centre late Saturday night.


VERNON - The RCMP sent busloads of teenagers back to their Kelowna hotel after shutting down a rave at the Vernon Recreation Centre late Saturday night.

Police say the partiers, including a majority of Lower Mainland students under 18, were extremely intoxicated, some receiving medical care by first aid attendants specifically hired for the event.

RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk says drug use is strongly suspected.

“While at the event our officers noticed empty baggies consistent with drug use as well as unconsumed pills resembling ecstasy, Ketamine, and/or MDMA on the floor,” Molendyk says, adding several partiers informed police that MDMA was in use.

The DJ’d event, organized by S-Trip, advertised online as a post-secondary student party trip planning company, expected 800 attendees.

Glow sticks, soothers and copious amounts of bottled water were present at the event, and are all consistent with the use of MDMA, also known as ecstasy, Molendyk says. The glow sticks add to the sensory experience, the soothers aid in the impulse to chomp down, and the water prevents dehydration, Molendyk says.

“A lot of times individuals who use the drug do not hydrate themselves and that can cause serious problems,” Molendyk says.

When police and bylaw officers attended around 1 a.m., four young people were in the first aid room (the organizers had hired first aid attendants), and one of the individuals was barely conscious. Ambulances were called in to assist.

The event manager was advised by police to shut the event down immediately. Event organizers were asked to end the rave and bus the students back to their hotel rooms in Kelowna, Molendyk says. Multiple trips were needed to get the several hundred individuals back to Kelowna. The party continued while students waited for buses to return.

The City of Vernon Bylaw Unit will be following up on the business license of the organizers, Molendyk says.

Police don’t know where the drugs came from, but given the level of preparedness organizers had in having bottles of water, soothers, and glow-sticks on hand, it appears they knew drug use was going to occur at the event.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.

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