Atlantis Gay Cruise Death Sparks Debate Over Drug Use

While we do not have the entire full story yet we are hearing various reports that there are more than one death on the Atlantis Cruise that is currently at sea. Joel Taylor, who starred in the Discovery show Storm Chasers, has been confirmed dead on the Atlantis gay cruise in the Caribbean. He died of a suspected drug overdose according to TMZ.


The FBI has reportedly launched an investigation into the death and the presence of drugs on the ship: According to TMZ, several people were arrested on drug charges before the boat left Fort Lauderdale.

Porn star couple Jesse Jackman and Dirk Caber were also aboard the Harmony. An unconscious Caber was hospitalized the night of Taylor’s death. Gay Daily Hot News (NSFW) reports “Dirk and Jesse had a fight, causing Dirk to get drunk and pass out, only to later discover he had pneumonia, forcing the couple to leave the ship for a Puerto Rico hospital.”

A rep for the boat tells us Taylor was found unresponsive in his cabin Tuesday and law enforcement was alerted when the boat arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ, “It appears the death could be an overdose and Joel Taylor was consuming controlled substances.”

A passenger who interacted with Joel tells TMZ, Joel had consumed enough GHB on the dance floor Tuesday that he was rendered unconscious and taken off the dance floor by 2 people and back to his room.

The night actually started out as one memorable night as they had a surprise performance on the ship.

So I am on the Atlantis Gay Cruise on the Harmony of the Seas (which is huge and amazing) and 5500 of us were treated last night to a surprise performance by Olivia Newton John – which made it the largest ever concert at sea in history. I am still spellbound. Just extraordinary. – Bark Bailey

The NY Daily News reported:

One cruise ship-goer said Taylor was knocked unconscious after consuming a large quantity of GHB, an anti-sleep medication used to treat narcolepsy, on the dance floor. The source said Taylor was removed from the floor by two friends who then took him to his cabin.

The boat, chartered by a private company, set sail Jan. 20 and was slated to return to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Saturday morning, according to The Blast. Law enforcement was called when the ship docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“We can confirm that Joel Taylor has passed away while on a cruise,” funeral director Richard Duggar II said in a statement on behalf of Taylor’s family. “The cause of the death has not yet been determined. We ask for your understanding during this difficult time and your respect for the family while they deal with the loss of their son. “ according to CNN.

Taylor was 38. His death was first announced by fellow storm chaser Reed Timmer on Tuesday night.

Said Timmer: “RIP my best friend and storm chasing partner, Joel Taylor. I am shocked and absolutely devastated by the loss of my incredible, caring friend. We chased so many intense storms, and I wish we could have just one more storm chase. I’ll miss you forever, Joel. We lost a legend”

We also have reports that Adult movie Star Dirk Caber was on the same Cruise. He also had a “chemically induced” incident where he went on a binge, posted a suicide note to Facebook and then hid until his unconscious body was found. He and his husband got kicked off the boat and sent to a hospital in Puerto Rico. And when they throw you off the boat in Puerto Rico, they really want you off the boat.

People are of course going to social media and victim blaming and circuit party shaming without even knowing all of the facts. The discussion and rambling on Facebook has been interesting and some have made some good points but most were just posting anti-GHB or anti-circuit rants.

Did His Friends Not Know How To Handle A Possible Overdose?

As far as I can tell from the limited information, his friends made a very poor decision to not take him directly to medical attention. I’m rather concerned that Atlantis may not be taking advantage of harm reduction options such as hiring emergency medical staff or “party friendly” teams like Med Event. Self responsibility first, as well as having watchful friends, of course, but ignoring the options is irresponsible of any party promoter. I’ve saved several lives on dance floors over the years – not an exaggeration!”

Christopher H:

It’s always a tragedy when someone loses their life as a result of an overdose. My heart breaks for this man and his loved ones. Addiction continues to ravage lives and is often brushed aside as the problem of “other people”. This affects all of us. Even more so, substance abuse has a powerfully strong choke hold on the LGBT community. So many of my gay brothers and sisters have battled with substance abuse. The sooner that we, as a society, destigmatize addiction and provide ample resources for support, the better. People will continue to die unless we systemically address the problem and treat addiction like the disease it is. It’s a tragedy when a life is lost. It’s also a trashy when we do nothing to remedy the problem at hand. Ignorance means a continued loss of life.

Deejay ‘Alan’ Bentley:

In my opinion, and it is my opinion, the bottom line is, no matter what we all do, we need to do it responsibly. When I first started partying it was in the rave scene right before it got commercialized, and my crew we would watch out for one another, we know who took what and what time as did other crews.

When I started in the circuit world I noticed it is or was a bit different, some just pop pop pop because it hadn’t kicked in or they don’t feel it, then it all kicks in at once. But no one is saying hey chill, they’ll try and take care of you after the fact but by then it maybe too late.

I’m not going to lump everyone in, it’s just what I’ve noticed over the years of partying. WE NEED TO BE MORE RESPONSIBLE PARTYGOERS no matter if we’re drinking or dropping, or there will be no more parties.

Tighter Security?
Many reported people being kicked off the ship and arrested when first boarding.

Byron B. chimned in the post to say he was on the Atlantis cruise says he’s I’m on the Harmony now and Royal Caribbean isn’t taking any chances. The security at all the parties is almost overwhelming. Not complaining, if they see someone starting to fall out, they swoop in and take care of them.Imagine a world where it was regulated like booze. This wouldn’t happen nearly as often. This is the problem with fentanyl in heroin. And now it’s being put in cocaine as well.

Imagine a world where it was regulated like booze. This wouldn’t happen nearly as often. This is the problem with fentanyl in heroin. And now it’s being put in cocaine as well.

The Need for DanceSafe Testing?
When someone dies on a cruise we start blaming drugs and shaming the dead or shaming the circuit scene. We also don’t know what caused it whether it was an ambien mixture or something laced such as gently I heard it may be an ambien overdose as well. You have to wonder if it was really three people — did they take the same things? If it was x or coke laced with fentanyl which actually has been killing people. If it was actual G it would put them in an REM deep sleep unless it was a precursor or mixed with K or something. More reasons why we need legal drugs or at least test kits to know what is real or not real like hey have at EDM feasts. They have booths for testing why don’t circuit events?

I’m not condoning or condemning one drug over the other. But in realty Ghb does not kill people. Ghb along with alcohol, ambien, Xanax, fentanyl, etc kills people.
Our community needs to be proactive, supportive, and understanding.

It’s Not G. Mixing of Drugs – Drug Cocktails
Charles W. stated that he disagrees that people need to STOP mixing prescription drugs WITH illicit drugs. That’s where the dangers lie.
Know what you’re putting into your body. Test kits exists. Harm reduction information is out there.

I remember the first time I went to a circuit party someone was having a seizure and people blamed it on G but in reality it was the meth, K, and GBL mixed. Also that he had been up for days on meth leading to his body already being worn down.

We do need to be more aware in the circuit community and know what to do if this happens to one of our squad. People will always be there to judge big gay events, they do it for 2 reasons :
– they can’t afford
– they don’t have enough confidence to attend to such events.

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been there done that. and i wanna do it again in a better way.

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