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Innerbody releases study on music festival drug use in the U.S.

Marijuana remains the most popular for three years straight & Rock Fest tops the list for drug consumption at festivals

  • Amira Waworuntu
  • 8 May 2024
Innerbody releases study on music festival drug use in the U.S.

A new survey of 900 festival attendees by Innerbody reveals insights into drug use, safety, and risky behaviours at events, plus shedding light on drug trends, common health issues, and recommended safety measures.

Innerbody is a group of experts made up of researchers, scientists, and medical professionals dedicated to helping consumers make informed health-related decisions. Their detailed consumer guides offer reliable, science-based advice, helping people find the best products for their specific needs.

Based on their findings, for the third year in a row, marijuana is still the most consumed drug at music festivals, likely due to its widespread legalisation in the United States. However, the survey found a noticeable increase in cocaine use and a slight decline in opioid use.

It also reveals that drug testing has hit a record high this year, with 80% of music festival attendees testing their drugs beforehand, compared to just 61% last year.

These changes in drug preferences and testing are noteworthy given the ongoing opioid overdose crisis in the country, plus the continued push for harm reduction.

Genres also become a category in the survey. Rock, hip hop, and EDM festivals are where drug use is most prevalent, with Rock Fest remaining the top festival for drug-related activity, followed by Burning Man and Coachella.

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The survey also revealed that a majority of festivalgoers now prefer purchasing drugs at the venue rather than bringing their own.

Even with safety measures in place, the survey shows that more than half of festivalgoers had health issues needing medical attention due to drug use.

Common problems were heat stroke, bad trips, and dehydration. This highlights the need for preventive actions like staying hydrated, knowing where the medical tents are, and recognising early signs of heat-related illnesses.

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Beyond health risks, drug use can lead to risky behaviours. According to the survey, 66% of respondents admitted to engaging in such behaviour, with sex with a stranger and reckless driving among the most common.

Given these findings, both festival organisers and attendees are encouraged to prioritise safety.

“Half of the festivalgoers surveyed reported that their top strategy for staying safe was educating themselves about the risks and potential side effects of the drug they were using instead. The second most common safety strategy reported was starting with a low dosage, followed closely by drug testing,” the survey states.

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Innerbody concludes that “Being aware of your surroundings, remaining close to your friends, keeping hydrated, and familiarising yourself with the location of medical tents” also play crucial roles in ensuring festival safety.

Read Innerbody's full study here.

Image: Wendy Wei

Amira Waworuntu is Mixmag Asia’s Managing Editor, follow her on Instagram.

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