By / May 22, 2024

87% of Festival Goers Plan to Use Drugs, and the Most Popular Choice is Cannabis

The festival season is a time eagerly awaited by thousands of music enthusiasts from around the world. These multi-day events, full of performances by favorite artists and DJs, provide opportunities for dancing, having fun, and making new acquaintances. For many festival attendees, the experience is not limited to music but also involves the use of various psychoactive substances to enhance their experiences.

According to the latest survey conducted by research firm Innerbody, as many as 87% of festivalgoers plan to use drugs during these events. This is a significant increase compared to last year. Among these substances, cannabis ranks first as the most commonly chosen drug, partially due to its increasing legalization and perception as less risky compared to other psychoactive substances.

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Context and Methodology of the Study

The research firm Innerbody, known for conducting studies related to health and consumer behavior, decided to investigate the habits and plans of music festival attendees regarding drug use. The aim of the study was to better understand which substances are most commonly chosen and the associated risks.

The study was conducted on a sample of 900 individuals who participated in a survey about their plans and behaviors related to drug use during upcoming festivals. The results showed that the number of people planning to use drugs increased by 10% compared to the previous year, indicating a growing popularity of such practices in the festival environment.

Most Popular Drugs at Festivals

One of the key aspects of the Innerbody study was identifying the most commonly chosen drugs by festivalgoers. At the top of the list is cannabis, which 65.3% of respondents plan to use. Its popularity can be attributed to widespread legalization in many US states and its perception as a less risky substance compared to other drugs.

Cocaine, the second most popular choice, is planned to be used by 46.5% of attendees. This is an increase compared to previous years, possibly due to its availability and the strong euphoric effect that attracts many festivalgoers.

Psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin mushrooms rank third, with 26.1% of respondents declaring their use. These substances are often chosen for their ability to induce intense visual and emotional experiences that can enhance the festival experience.

MDMA, also known as ecstasy, is planned to be used by 19.4% of participants. This drug is popular among attendees of dance festivals and raves due to its properties that increase empathy and feelings of happiness.

Ketamine, known for its dissociative effects, is the fifth most commonly chosen drug, with 19.3% of participants declaring its use. Despite the risks associated with its use, the popularity of ketamine remains stable.

The legalization of cannabis in many US states has contributed to its growing popularity as a safer alternative to other drugs. Cannabis is perceived as less risky, which may explain why so many festivalgoers choose to use it.

Types of Music and Festivals with the Highest Drug Use

The Innerbody study found that some music genres are more associated with drug use than others. At the top of the list are rock, hip-hop, and EDM (Electronic Dance Music). These genres attract audiences who are more likely to use psychoactive substances to enhance their concert experiences.

  • Rock Fest, held in Wisconsin, was identified as the festival with the highest anticipated drug use. Its attendees often use various substances to fully immerse themselves in the rock music atmosphere.
  • Burning Man, a week-long festival in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, ranks second in terms of anticipated drug use. This event, known for its unique atmosphere and artistic expression, attracts people who are eager to experiment with different drugs to enrich their experiences.
  • Coachella, one of the most famous music festivals in the world, ranks third. Its diverse lineup attracts crowds, many of whom choose to use drugs to fully enjoy the atmosphere of this prestigious event.

Music Festival Behaviors Related to Drug Use

One of the key aspects of the research was identifying how festival goers hide and use drugs. The most common methods of hiding substances are backpacks and pockets. These places are easily accessible and provide a sense of security from potential searches. Backpacks are particularly popular due to their ability to hide larger quantities of drugs and ease of access during the festival.

Drug use occurs in various locations on the festival grounds. One of the most common places is the toilets, where participants can quickly and discreetly use substances. Others prefer using drugs in the crowd, which gives them a sense of anonymity and reduces the risk of getting caught. Some participants choose to use drugs before entering the festival gates, allowing them to avoid potential searches.

The research also showed changes in drug purchasing trends. Currently, 67.4% of participants decide to buy drugs on-site, an increase compared to 54% last year. Only 32.6% bring their own drugs. This shift may be due to the greater availability of drugs on-site and the convenience of purchasing them at the festival. Millennials are the largest group choosing to buy drugs on-site, possibly due to their greater openness to risk and less inclination to long-term planning.

Drug Testing and Risk Awareness

The increase in the number of people testing drugs before the festival is one of the most positive trends resulting from the Innerbody study. This year, as many as 80.3% of participants test their drugs before use, a significant increase compared to 67% last year. Drug testing has become more popular, possibly due to growing awareness of the opioid crisis and the dangers of using unknown substances.

Awareness of the opioid crisis has influenced the increase in drug testing, as users seek to avoid potentially fatal substances like fentanyl, which can be added to drugs without their knowledge. Drug testing provides festivalgoers with a greater sense of security and control over what they are consuming.

Public education has played a key role in increasing awareness of the risks associated with drug use. Information campaigns, educational programs, and harm reduction initiatives have contributed to the rise in the number of people who choose to test their drugs. As a result, festivalgoers are more aware of the dangers and can make more informed decisions about their safety.

Health Problems and Risky Behaviors

Drug use at festivals often leads to various health problems. The most common issues are heatstroke, bad trips, and dehydration. Heatstroke is particularly dangerous in high-temperature conditions and intense physical activity, such as dancing. Bad trips, or negative psychedelic experiences, can lead to panic, paranoia, and other mental problems. Dehydration is common, especially when participants forget to stay hydrated while using drugs like MDMA.

Drug use often leads to risky behaviors as well. Casual sex and dangerous driving after the festival are the most common examples. Millennials are the group most exposed to risky behaviors, especially casual sex. One in four people in this age group admits to driving under the influence of drugs, posing a serious threat to road safety.

Comparing millennials with Gen Z, some demographic differences in risky behaviors can be observed. Gen Z, although also exposed to risky behaviors, shows slightly more caution regarding drug use and risk-taking. This may be due to greater awareness of the dangers and the impact of educational campaigns aimed at younger generations.

Music Festival Harm Reduction Strategies

In the context of increasing drug use at music festivals, harm reduction strategies are becoming crucial. Self-education is one of the most commonly used safety methods. Festivalgoers increasingly use available information sources to learn more about the substances they plan to use, their effects, and potential dangers. This allows them to make more informed decisions.

Another important strategy is starting with small doses. Testing substances in small amounts helps minimize the risk of negative reactions. This way, participants can better control their experiences and avoid unforeseen side effects.

Drug testing before use is becoming increasingly popular. With the availability of tests for dangerous substances like fentanyl, participants can check if their drugs are safe. This significantly reduces the risk of accidentally consuming fatal substances.

In addition to these strategies, there are several practical tips that can help festivalgoers stay safe. Hydration is key, especially during intense, multi-hour outdoor events. Staying close to friends and remaining in groups increases safety, as there is always someone to help in case of problems. Knowing the locations of medical points on the festival grounds allows for quick assistance in emergencies.

(Featured image by Yvette de Wit via Unsplash)

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