What Are the Most Popular Drugs Used at Music Festivals?

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Given that more experienced drug users are more likely to understand the risk of using adulterated product, some may assume that people who purchase drugs as festivals from strangers are not aware that the drug can be bunk. However, while many are in fact unaware, many are aware and are simply willing to take a risk in order to enhance their time at the event. Feelings of anxiety and desperation in particular appear to prompt some attendees to simply purchase drugs from “shady” people or from the first person offering to sell—especially if hours have been spent trying to find a seller. With the prevalence of drug use, many people may wonder whether festivals are safe to attend, either for themselves or for their teens and young adults entering the world of concerts and events for the first time. Like any event with a large crowd, festivals pose many risks to the public, but they can still be safely enjoyed when attendees practice smart decision-making and use discretion.

drug use at music festivals

However, there is no data on the prevalence of drug use and the harm-reduction practices in Irish festival-goers. Further research in this area include the feasibility and practicality of using laboratory-grade testing equipment on-site compared to reagent testing. Longitudinal research investigating the long-term effects of drug checking could also help to highlight the potential benefits and risks from the health intervention and education that a drug checking service offers. It’s not just regular drug users that are falling victim to overdoses at music festivals.

Get Help If You Have an Issue With Festival Drugs

Extreme environmental conditions combined with drug use and dancing within a single day can be risky, but according to informants, risk is increased by the length of festival days and by consecutive festival days. Many festivals are open from roughly noon to midnight—an extensive time period for an individual to be active in a party atmosphere. Most major festivals last two or three consecutive days; for example, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

  • A total of 1193 Irish festival attendees living in Ireland over the age of 18 completed an anonymous online survey.
  • Grouping less frequent or one-time drug users may account for the significant difference between drug users’ and non-drug users’ attitudes towards the provision of drug-checking services at festivals.
  • More recently, Measham examined the feasibility of community-based drug-checking services in the UK.
  • Experiences like these have made music festivals a key part of cultural life in America and around the world.

Both authors drafted the manuscript, and both authors interpreted results, and critically reviewed and revised the manuscript. In the following case, an informant claims to have ingested 800 mg of MDMA in a panic after learning about a security check on his way into a festival. Whether or not such a large dose was indeed ingested, this is a very dangerous behavior—all in attempt to avoid being turned down at the gate or to avoid arrest. And that keeps people from going for help when a situation could be fixed.

Risks Associated with Substance Use at Music Festivals

In the study, EDM, heavy metal, and alternative music events had the highest percentage of people who drank alcohol or used drugs, with 67.5%, 52.2%, and 60.6%, respectively. Indie rock and reggae were also found to be relatively high on the list, with 60.2% and 60.0% of respondents saying they had used alcohol or drugs in the events. Classical and Rock music events had the lowest, with 39.8% and 39.6%. It is not uncommon for people to find that the molly they planned on taking has traces of bath salts within it. This could cause more severe consequences than just taking molly alone.

Even occasional attendees may have connections with other attendees or other locals who use or sell party drugs. As such, drugs can often be obtained from a somewhat trustworthy source or network both inside and outside of local nightclubs. But these connections are typically not just mere connections in which one can obtain drugs; these connections imply that the person providing the drugs is at least known to some degree. Rapport is also often part of these relationships which may imply a certain degree of trust.

If you see any of these signs or symptoms, get medical help immediately. For a stimulant overdose, help the individual stay calm while putting them into a lying position. If someone is experiencing an opioid overdose, it’s best to administer Narcan or find someone who can. In the meantime, rub their sternum with your knuckles and begin rescue breathing. Plug their nose and give one breath into their mouth every five to seven seconds until help arrives.

His passion for writing has led him to a career in journalism, where he specializes in writing about stories in the pain management and healthcare industry. His main goal as a writer is to bring readers accurate, trustworthy content that serve as useful resources for bettering their lives or the lives of those around them. To find a treatment center near you, contact a treatment provider to get more information on addiction treatment.

drug use at music festivals

Many people use MDMA to experience a feeling of connectedness with those around them, as it can also increase emotional warmth. Another risk of using substances at a festival in combining several substances at once, which can increase the side effects and contribute to overdose or death. People take more of a substance than they should and frequently overdose. Dealers often lie about the products they are selling, so a person might be taking a deadly drug when all they thought they were getting was a much lighter substance. For example, drug dealers at electronic music shows in the United Kingdom have been known to sell N-ethylpentylone as MDMA.

As such, effects from behavior on the previous day can easily spill into the next day. One strategy for mitigating these risks would be the provision of drug purity testing at festivals. While testing sites are common in Europe, they are rare in the United States. Considering the dangerous effects of drug and alcohol use at these events, we asked people what compelled them to experiment in the first place.

Brain Development – It is a well-known fact that the brain is not fully developed until at least age 25. In particular, the prefrontal cortex that is responsible for reasoning and higher-level thinking is the last to develop. Since young adults are the most frequent attendees at music festivals, this may be a factor in the high level of drug use at music festivals. Drugs which are not represented in general population data in Ireland such as ketamine (63%) and 2 CB (26%) were more commonly reported in this study than more well-known substances such as amphetamine (17%). These responses could be an indicator of use among other sub-populations or of use occurring in other settings, outside of the festival arena.

Alcohol/ Drugs & Sexual Assault

Beyond the social media community, music festivals provide a sense of community for the festival attendees. Most participants attend festivals for the music, but they also buy tickets for the festival culture, which unfortunately often involves drugs. For some people, creating a deeper connection with music and friends means experimenting with substances. This study was exploratory in nature do i have an allergy to alcohol and the sample size was relatively small; however, we believe that a smaller sample size suffices given that we consider participants key informants or experts in the topic of interest. All participants reside in North America which can be a limitation as we do not know whether or to what extent they are experienced or knowledgeable with respect to festival culture in other continents.

The relaxed atmosphere of a festival can make it seem like an ideal time to try new things. The anonymous and often crowded nature of festivals can make it easier for people to buy and use drugs without being detected. Mentalhub.fi is a nationwide web service that has been developed by social- and healthcare professionals. On Mentalhub’s pages you can find tips regarding self care among other things.

Public Health Risks

A lot of times these are in the middle of the woods, you can get lost, and you can have a terrible experience without anyone noticing you. There’s medical onsite but if it’s a major emergency and the next hospital is four hours away, you have less resources available if you do have a negative reaction. Not only are people at risk for medical emergencies at large festivals due to a variety of factors previously discussed, but people understanding comorbid insomnia and alcohol use experiencing an emergency may actually be hesitant to seek help. This is because they may fear getting in trouble or because they might not want to leave the festival. This can be viewed as a lack of self-response to possible emergencies. It is this lack of familiarity with party scenes that appears to be a risk factor for risky drug purchasing and use because most of these attendees are assumed not to be seasoned party drug users.

Availability of data and materials

He has conducted drugs research at festivals in Western Australia, Victoria and NSW and said there were differences in police approaches between the states. When it came to higher-risk behaviours, of the 286 people using MDMA, 48% reported double-dropping. Gender differences were significant, with men more than twice as likely to double-drop than women. Eighty-two (22%) of participants who responded “yes” to using drugs also reported high-risk alcohol use. If you or someone you know are unable to stop using drugs, they should consider treatment for drug addiction.

Where allowed, the nonprofit sets up a tent with a tabletop machine that screens drugs for fentanyl. Auctor said he has been kicked out of Bonnaroo twice and no longer goes. But he sneaks into various other festivals a few days early, parking his truck — filled with thousands of test kits — in the woods to evade security until he can blend in with the throngs. The founder, who goes by Adam Auctor, doesn’t share his real name — he fears for his safety because he traces laced drugs to specific dealers and tries to persuade them to destroy their supply. He has testimonial videos that show dealers in tears after realizing their drugs could have killed someone. Public health agencies increasingly recommend that even people who don’t use drugs carry naloxone, which can be obtained through a prescription or over the counter, though laws vary in different states.

This has prompted federal and state governments to try to think of new ways to combat the crisis, with the Biden administration giving $30 million to support programs that have often operated in the shadows. In the past few years, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also has fully embraced fentanyl test kits. should you go back to rehab after a relapse Their summer tour wraps up at Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada on Labor Day weekend. Panagopoulos I, Ricciardelli LA. Harm reduction and decision making among recreational ecstasy users. Butterfield RJ, Barratt MJ, Ezard N, Day O, Drug R. Checking to improve monitoring of new psychoactive substances in Australia.

The person you buy drugs from at the festival on Day 1, you won’t even see on Day 2 or 3. Substances like MDMA and LSD can make lights seem brighter and music louder. Ingesting these substances can seem to make the show even more spectacular, which may be why some people use these drugs in this setting . The editorial staff of DrugAbuse.com is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers . Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands of pages for accuracy and relevance. Our reviewers consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA, NIDA, and other reputable sources to provide our readers the most accurate content on the web.

The average age of participants was 24 years old, 54.2% identified as male, 46.3% identified as female and 0.4% identified as other. Drug use was a significant part of the festival experience, with 96% of the current cohort reporting drug use at festivals in the proceeding 12 months. The survey examined trends in drug use, harm-reduction practices and willingness to engage with drug-testing services. The survey ran for 5 months ; the period of interest was 2018 to 2019. To examine drug use and related harm-reduction practices and attitudes towards utilisation of drug safety testing services. This study aimed to investigate the proportion and patterns of illicit drug use among young people, their attitudes towards drug checking at festivals and the potential impact of drug checking on intended drug use behaviour.

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