For years, I would drive to the Port of Miami where I worked among the major cruise lines. When Ultra came to town, I knew what I would see in the mornings would not be pleasant: young people who had obviously been up all night and seemed under the influence of drugs, etc. Young people who looked like they didn’t know what hit them…still dressed like they were clubbing for the night. Throw up, trash, and people preying on those who didn’t know any better.

On youtube, you can find examples of what goes on inside the Ultra Festival including overdosing, sex; all sorts of things. I realize that not everyone who will attend will be in this condition. Some go for the fun and music. Probably, most.

What I would like to address is the forming adolescent brain that gets introduced to a substance their body cannot handle. The liver isn’t functioning properly yet for them which means they may have a drink, and nothing happens, so they pile it on.

Because of their limited liver function, they are totally trashed when it all hits them at one time. Alcohol poisoning is deadly.

Then there are the substances that can begin to hijack the forming brain, creating a new brain that is dependent on the drugs because their dopamine receptors are malfunctioning due to drug use. The executive center of the brain is unable to use proper judgment. This is the last to form, somewhere around 21 for a girl; and 25 for a boy. Drug use interferes with this development.

You see we as a family know a lot about this subject after the death of our very loved son who grew up on Key Biscayne, Kyle Dodds. His life now has saved so many by educating young people about all of this. Of course, his started with a legal opioid prescription for pain at 15, the rest of our story you can look up on the Islander News website.

So, before you say yes to this Festival for your kids, and they will be badgering you, consider going yourself with them or sending another responsible adult to keep tabs on them. Human traffickers love these events and with Miami being one of the hubs for trafficking, the rule is CAUTION AND AWARENESS, drugs are how they usually get teen boys and girls.

Sorry to be so somber but we don’t need this kind of festival on Key Biscayne or anywhere, in my opinion.

Editor’s Note: Cindy and Mark Dodds lost their 24 year old son Kyle to an opioid overdose in September of 2016. The beloved key rat was known for his athletic prowess, blue eyes, and big heart. His parents were community football coaches. Today they advocate for legislative reforms of stiffer sentences on drug dealers; and awareness efforts to help save other kids from Kyle’s fate.

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