Grief counselors are on hand at Hylton High School and a candlelight vigil is scheduled Wednesday for Daniel Anders, a rising senior who died Sunday of an apparent drug overdose.
Daniel, 17, was one of two people to die following the Mad Decent Block Party at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md., on Friday. At least 20 others were hospitalized with overdose symptoms, and police are investigating. Daniel and the other victim, 20-year-old Tyler Fox Viscard of Raleigh, N.C., did not appear to know each other, investigators said.
A candlelight vigil for Daniel is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday in front of the school at 14051 Spriggs Road in Woodbridge.
On Monday, Hylton High School principal David Cassady Jr., posted a letter to the community on the school’s website, offering parents tips to talk to their children about Daniel’s death.
Daniel was a member of the Hylton Troubadours Choir and a popular student at the school on Spriggs Road. Counselors were at the school Monday to help choir members deal with their grief during a previously scheduled rehearsal, Cassady said. Counselors will be on hand again Tuesday 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. to talk to anyone who needs help dealing with the loss.
Cassady said parents should pay close attention to their children’s emotional needs in the coming days and weeks, particularly those who were close with Daniel or members of his family.
Counselors are available at the school by calling 703-580-4067.
The deaths and hospitalizations during and after the Mad Decent Block Party made national news in the music community. The music festival travels the country and police in Howard County, Md., said other venues have seen similar rashes of overdose and illness.
Police said they believe the most widely used drug at the event was MDMA, popularly known as ecstasy or Molly.
MDMA is a synthetic, psychoactive drug that has similarities to stimulants and hallucinogens, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It can cause increases in heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature.
Merriweather Post Pavilion issued a statement Sunday, saying drugs are an epidemic “everywhere.”
“As a parent, it makes me horribly sad beyond words to think of a tragedy like this,” said Seth Hurwitz, chairman of I.M.P. Productions, the company that operates Merriweather Post Pavilion.
“We can spend every minute of the day making perfect sense to our children regarding the obvious perils of drugs, but sometimes it is impossible to convince them that this is relevant to their world. Youth feel invulnerable. Some refuse to believe they could be affected.”
Police are awaiting autopsy and toxicology results from the medical examiner's office to confirm the exact cause of death.