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No penalty for Sun God drugging

Official beer garden and drug testing advice mark UCSD blowout

UCSD student and Sun God Festival attendee Ricardo Ambriz died after ingesting “Benzo Fury.”
UCSD student and Sun God Festival attendee Ricardo Ambriz died after ingesting “Benzo Fury.”

In yet another attempt to tame a nasty run of drug and alcohol poisoning at its annual Sun God rock festival, UCSD is setting up an official beer garden, to be ringed with double fencing, security forces, and bartenders trained for on-site interventions.

Ricky Ambriz
Pradeep Khosla

The move comes almost a year after the drug-overdose death of undergraduate Ricardo "Ricky" Ambriz following a day of partying at the May blowout. The tragedy underscored longtime substance-abuse problems at the university, prompting calls in some quarters for abandoning the party altogether.

According to a 2014 Sun God post mortem released by the school last August 31, "Approximately 85% of all Sun God incidents involve alcohol. Almost half (48.6%) involve the student being admitted to our on-campus detox centers. Around 13% of all academic year incidents occur during Sun God weekend."

Two years prior to Ambriz's death, UCSD chancellor Pradeep Khosla had set up the Sun God Festival Task Force to investigate ways to deal with the drug and alcohol problems created by the concert.

The beer-garden idea was first floated in a November 2013 report by the task force. "An internationally recognized expert on alcohol abuse among college students, Dr. Kim Fromme, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, is serving as the task force consultant. Dr. Fromme spent a full day on campus in late September, and is scheduled to return in February.”

According to a subsequent report, Fromme was paid $4500 for her services.

Said the task force: “Consider [a] ‘Bear garden’ [sic] event adjacent to the Sun God venue, where students over 21 years old could purchase beer during the event. We recognize this may be controversial, but students from the I-House/Village area gave feedback that they would consider not having parties at their residence if they knew they could drink somewhere else.”

The sanctioned drinking facility will make its debut at this year's Sun God festival, on Sunday, May 3, from 2 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

"The entire beer garden area will be surrounded by a double fence to prevent beer from being handed off to students outside of the beer garden," according to the event's website.

"Providing a beer garden is a potential harm reduction strategy. By making beer available in a safe and controlled environment, event planners are able to reduce the perceived need by students to consume alcohol outside of the event, where over-consumption and other significant health and safety concerns may occur."

According to the guidelines, "Students who are deemed to be intoxicated at the ID check or at the entrance to the beer garden will not be permitted access to the beer garden. All bartenders will be TIPS (Training for Intervention Procedures) certified. TIPS is a skills-based training program that is proven to prevent intoxication, underage drinking, and drunk driving. Controls will be implemented to limit the pace of beer sales.”

Just saying no is not an option, the website says. "Studies of college student drinking behavior show that prohibition models are ineffective at changing student behavior related to binge drinking."

And though legions of cops from across California have traditionally been recruited by UCSD to police the event, a similar tolerance applies for drugs, the festival site indicates.

"If you do choose to engage in drug use: Make the decision to test your pills with an affordable drug testing kit, such as those available at dancesafe.org. Engaging in harm reduction strategies is paramount should you make the decision to engage in drug use."

Continues the advisory: "Remember: you WILL NOT be punished for your drug/alcohol use retroactively after seeking help from an official. Our utmost priority is your safety."

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UCSD student and Sun God Festival attendee Ricardo Ambriz died after ingesting “Benzo Fury.”
UCSD student and Sun God Festival attendee Ricardo Ambriz died after ingesting “Benzo Fury.”

In yet another attempt to tame a nasty run of drug and alcohol poisoning at its annual Sun God rock festival, UCSD is setting up an official beer garden, to be ringed with double fencing, security forces, and bartenders trained for on-site interventions.

Ricky Ambriz
Pradeep Khosla

The move comes almost a year after the drug-overdose death of undergraduate Ricardo "Ricky" Ambriz following a day of partying at the May blowout. The tragedy underscored longtime substance-abuse problems at the university, prompting calls in some quarters for abandoning the party altogether.

According to a 2014 Sun God post mortem released by the school last August 31, "Approximately 85% of all Sun God incidents involve alcohol. Almost half (48.6%) involve the student being admitted to our on-campus detox centers. Around 13% of all academic year incidents occur during Sun God weekend."

Two years prior to Ambriz's death, UCSD chancellor Pradeep Khosla had set up the Sun God Festival Task Force to investigate ways to deal with the drug and alcohol problems created by the concert.

The beer-garden idea was first floated in a November 2013 report by the task force. "An internationally recognized expert on alcohol abuse among college students, Dr. Kim Fromme, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, is serving as the task force consultant. Dr. Fromme spent a full day on campus in late September, and is scheduled to return in February.”

According to a subsequent report, Fromme was paid $4500 for her services.

Said the task force: “Consider [a] ‘Bear garden’ [sic] event adjacent to the Sun God venue, where students over 21 years old could purchase beer during the event. We recognize this may be controversial, but students from the I-House/Village area gave feedback that they would consider not having parties at their residence if they knew they could drink somewhere else.”

The sanctioned drinking facility will make its debut at this year's Sun God festival, on Sunday, May 3, from 2 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

"The entire beer garden area will be surrounded by a double fence to prevent beer from being handed off to students outside of the beer garden," according to the event's website.

"Providing a beer garden is a potential harm reduction strategy. By making beer available in a safe and controlled environment, event planners are able to reduce the perceived need by students to consume alcohol outside of the event, where over-consumption and other significant health and safety concerns may occur."

According to the guidelines, "Students who are deemed to be intoxicated at the ID check or at the entrance to the beer garden will not be permitted access to the beer garden. All bartenders will be TIPS (Training for Intervention Procedures) certified. TIPS is a skills-based training program that is proven to prevent intoxication, underage drinking, and drunk driving. Controls will be implemented to limit the pace of beer sales.”

Just saying no is not an option, the website says. "Studies of college student drinking behavior show that prohibition models are ineffective at changing student behavior related to binge drinking."

And though legions of cops from across California have traditionally been recruited by UCSD to police the event, a similar tolerance applies for drugs, the festival site indicates.

"If you do choose to engage in drug use: Make the decision to test your pills with an affordable drug testing kit, such as those available at dancesafe.org. Engaging in harm reduction strategies is paramount should you make the decision to engage in drug use."

Continues the advisory: "Remember: you WILL NOT be punished for your drug/alcohol use retroactively after seeking help from an official. Our utmost priority is your safety."

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Comments
8

Yikes. So the University condones the use of Benzofury, and further, it recommends that if you buy drugs, you should have them tested for purity before you take them.
"Make the decision to test your pills with an affordable drug testing kit, such as those available at dancesafe.org."

"Good to know" point #1: dancesafe test kits DON'T TEST for the presence of chemicals that can freakin' kill you. They only test for the presence of MDMA or whatever drug it is that you think you're buying.

"Good to know" point #2: If the kid who died last year had tested his drugs, and found the pills to actually contain the product he was buying...he would still be just as DEAD.

"Good to know" point #3: If someone buys whatever...and tests it with a dancesafe kit...and dies or has any adverse reaction to it, the university has now created a legal liability, and can be sued.

C'mon...this must be an "SD on the QT" story. I KNOW the university didn't really spend $45k of my tax dollars to create grounds for a multi-million dollar payout to the parents of some junkie who ODs on cleaning fluid while partying on campus.

That's hilarious. Wait. What?
Never mind.

March 30, 2015

No, this isn't a Mencken spoof; it just comes across like one. In fact, I'm not sure that he could come up with something as strange as this. Matt reports facts, not satire.

escortalex, are you perhaps a UCSD alum? I'd like to think that when these posts from Matt show up, some alum might care enough to comment. Most of the time nobody comments, least of all UCSD students or alums. How many UCSD alum are residing in the county? I can only suppose it exceeds 100,000, yet most are utterly indifferent to these reports of their Alma Mater. All that tells me more than I ever wanted to know about UCSD and its graduates.

March 30, 2015

escortalex - Well said. This is what they are taught in college?

March 30, 2015

UCSD's idea of locus parentis: "You will not be punished for your drug/alcohol use retroactively after seeking help from an official. Our utmost priority is your safety." US President Janet Napolitano should give parents of non-users a fee-rebate for unused substance abuse services.

March 30, 2015

UC president Napolitano is the least qualified person to ever hold that position. Her appointment to the job reflects the total collapse of the UC regents, and their absolute loss of mission and direction. She should crawl back under her Arizona rock, and wait for more appropriate prey.

March 30, 2015

Hey hey hey. Enough of the nastiness. As a native of Arizona, I am offended by that comment. Napolitano may have worked in Arizona, but she was not born there. She is not our fault. Blame her on NYC and send her back there.

March 31, 2015

Sorry, dan. But she was a Zonie politician, and parlayed that into the cabinet job, and now the UC presidency. There was a time when only an academic who had tenure would be considered for the presidency of a major university. Now, anything goes. I really don't follow the identities of current UC regents, but can only assume that between "Gray Hair" and "Ahnold", some real clinkers were appointed to the board. And they hired her.

March 31, 2015

This has nothing to do with Napolitano. It's a state "Good Samaritan" law passed a couple of years ago. It goes something like this: If your party posse comprises such D-bags that they'd rather watch you die from an overdose than dial 9-1-1 to save your life...they can rest assured that they won't get in trouble for their own drug use when authorities show up. AB 472...you could look it up. Dialing back the snark-o-meter just a tad, it's a good law and can save lives. Now you kids get off my lawn.....and take your beer cans and K-2 wrappers with you.

March 31, 2015

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