54° Good Evening
54° Good Evening

Responsibility cuts both ways at Jones Beach concerts

Ambulances took a number of sick people at

Ambulances took a number of sick people at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater to hospitals on Wednesday, June 24, 2015. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Underage kids getting their hands on drugs and alcohol is as old as the laws that prevent it.

It's a reality we've come to expect, especially when it comes to concerts.

"The Boys of Zummer," which included the band Fall Out Boy and rappers Hoodie Allen and Wiz Khalifa, were on stage at the Nikon Theater at Jones Beach on Wednesday. (If you're thinking, "What is a Wiz Khalifa?" that might mean one of your kids or their friends was probably there.)

Fourteen underage kids were sent to the hospital for alcohol poisoning, 11 were arrested on various charges, and 46 were issued summonses.

The inability of first-aid responders to handle this situation was surprising. While teens share the blame for their immaturity, resources should be prioritized for medical needs rather than security screening.

With thousands in attendance, it can be assumed that there was a significant amount of alcohol and drugs at the theater. As a college student knowing full well the hoops one has to jump through to acquire such commodities, I won't be the one to advocate for "the fun police" wanting to recreate Prohibition. But teens have to hold up their end of the bargain.

They'll have many more chances throughout the summer. Future summer acts at Jones Beach will include Vans Warped Tour '15, country singer Darius Rucker, and artists Chris Brown, Kid Ink and Fetty Wap (translation for parents: not '70s funk).

Contrary to popular belief, it's possible to enjoy a concert without getting wrecked. But before things get out of hand, more resources should go to the theater's first-aid station and quick-response team. Police said those resources proved "inadequate" in handling the number of inebriated youths at Wednesday's concert.

A parks spokesman said that improved safety measures will be discussed with the venue operator. However, beyond having airport-level surveillance, there's not much more that security personnel can do. Kids will always find a way, as they've shown in past Nikon events. At one event in 2008, 24 minors were sent to hospitals with alcohol poisoning. And at a 2012 Wiz Khalifa event, 20 teens were sent to the hospital even before the performance.

If teens think they are responsible enough for these things, they shouldn't ruin it for everyone else by feeding the myth that 21 is the age when real responsibility kicks in. More specifically, don't poison your bodies to the point of hospital visits, don't stuff your pockets with marijuana, don't drive while intoxicated (as one teen concertgoer was charged with on Wednesday), and never get physical with security (as another teen was accused of).

As evidenced by the multitude of other kids who were more than likely drinking but not troublesome, moderation is key. Therefore, the first-aid station has got to be ready for all those who have trouble with the meaning of balance. But if teens don't want security searching every crevice of their person for the one joint taped to the thigh, they should try acting like the adults they think they are.

Christopher Leelum, a student at Stony Brook University, is an intern at Newsday Opinion.


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.