If your teenager goes to a major music festival, they’ll likely get more than just jamming tunes. Drugs and music festivals go hand-in-hand. It’s incredibly easy to obtain drugs at these kinds of events and teens are often in the audience. Drug use is much more common among teens who attend music festivals than among those who don’t. Teens that attend these festivals often put themselves in more danger than they realize when they experiment with club drugs offered there. Parents and concerned adults need to watch for warning signs of club drug use by their teens.
Popularity of Drugs at Festivals
Many people attending a music festival use some kind of substance. According to a survey, 57 percent of festival-goers take drugs of some kind or consume alcohol. Another survey highlighted in a Miami Herald article states that most drugs are acquired from a random dealer found at the event.
Substance use is rampant at music festivals, especially electronic dance music (EDM) festivals. Alcohol overuse is a significant problem, often because it results in dehydration. The most common drug at festivals is marijuana, but club drugs have a distinct presence as well. Ecstasy (MDMA), ketamine, GHB, Rohypnol (roofies) and LSD are among the more widely used club drugs at festivals.
Teenagers put themselves at great risk when using illicit drugs at music festivals. Easy access, unmonitored use, and a high-risk environment make drug use at music festivals especially dangerous. Even so, the popularity of club drugs at music festivals remains strong.
Types of Club Drugs Found at Music Festivals
Despite efforts to improve drug searches for attendees, festivals have gotten a reputation for rampant drug and alcohol use. A handful of popular club drugs have dominated the music festival scene in recent years.
- MDMA: MDMA has effects similar to hallucinogens and stimulants. A major risk of using MDMA is taking the drugs in warm weather, especially if use is excessive. The heat that typically occurs during summer music festivals is a common factor in overdose deaths according to an article in The Guardian.
- LSD: LSD and acid are two common names of lysergic acid diethylamide, a potent hallucinogen. LSD causes dreamlike distortions that can either be entertaining or cause hours of panic and disturbing emotions. According to an article, LSD use is higher at raves (electronic dance music festivals) than at any other type of live music festival.
- Ketamine: Ketamine is a powerful tranquilizer with a dissociative effect. Because of its use as a date rape drug, kids taking ketamine are at a higher risk of being sexually assaulted. According to a report from the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, ketamine use is six times more prevalent among festival attendees than non-attendees.
- GHB: GHB is a prescribed drug used to treat insomnia and used illicitly as a date rape drug. GHB can cause people to fall unconscious in minutes and can be lethal if mixed with alcohol. The prevalence of GHB use at music festivals is similar to ketamine.
- Rohypnol: Rohypnol is a club drug known as a roofie, often associated with date rape. This drug is a tranquilizer that creates a sedative effect, loss of consciousness and amnesia. Rohypnol is among the most commonly used drugs at music festivals.
Dangers of Club Drugs at Electronic Music Festivals
Drugs sold at raves and festivals often contain additional harmful substances, making them even more dangerous than drugs from known sources. Overdoses and a few deaths have occurred at festivals as a result of illicit club drug use. Despite the increased risk, the Miami Herald states that nearly 63% of festival-goers using substances acquire these drugs at the event.
Another danger is the indulgent environment of raves and music festivals. A person who doesn’t normally use club drugs may be tempted to experiment with a substance they aren’t familiar with. The dreamlike effects of club drugs can lower a person’s inhibitions and leave them vulnerable. Unprotected sex and sexual assault are more likely when taking club drugs.
Club drugs can cause many negative physical, mental and emotional effects. Most of these substances become lethal if mixed with alcohol. This interaction makes them particularly dangerous to an inexperienced user. Additionally, club and festival environments are often overheated, leading to a greater chance of dehydration and strain on the entire body.
Signs of Club Drug Use in Teens
Teens put themselves at great risk when taking club drugs. Parents need to be aware of the warning signs of drug use in teens. When teens attend music festivals or raves, parents and other concerned adults can watch for some common behaviors and changes.
Teens using hallucinogens may appear confused and paranoid. LSD and ecstasy cause users to see, hear and feel distortions of reality. When the effects last too long or are too intense, the user’s mind can become overwhelmed with the warped reality. When the mind and body are overstimulated by ecstasy, a person can also suffer from teeth clenching, sleep problems and muscle tension.
Some club drugs produce a heavy sedative effect, depressing the entire central nervous system. When paired with alcohol, these drugs can be deadly. When a teen has taken ketamine, GHB or Rohypnol, they may appear very sedated as if they are moving in slow motion. These drugs also cause unconsciousness and amnesia. A teen under the influence of these sedatives may have no memory of a certain time period even if they looked awake.
Teens attend music festivals to feel excitement and stimulation, but club drug use may also become part of their experience. The dangers of club drugs are real and can be a surprise for some parents. If your child has misused club drugs or is addicted to drug use, you can find the help they need at Next Generation Village. Our professionals are ready to listen to and help with your family’s needs at any time of the day or night. Don’t wait any longer to get your teen on the path to recovery; call today.Medical Disclaimer: Next Generation Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.