Music festivals remain as popular as ever, passing down decade after decade regardless of what the popular genre currently is. The connection between music festivals and drug use, however, also remains just as linked as they were in past generations.
The link between music festivals and potentially dangerous drug use is so strong that many festivals even contain on-site drug testing stations to check the purity of various drugs so users know what they are taking.
Here we break down the most popular drugs used at music festivals, and what makes them dangerous in those settings.
1) Ecstasy (MDMA/Molly)
Ecstasy remains one of the most popular music festival drugs, and also one of the most dangerous. Ecstasy is a psychoactive drug that has both stimulant and hallucinogenic properties. Ecstasy can cause severe dehydration, which is particularly dangerous in settings like an outdoor summer music festival.
Ecstasy also most commonly comes in a pressed pill form, which may or may not actually contain ecstasy. It is also very common for the pills to be laced with other dangerous drugs, such as methamphetamine, fentanyl, and other drugs. (1)
LSD has been a part of music festivals nearly since their beginning, and remains one of the most popularly used psychedelics at music festivals. Acid is active at extremely small doses, which can be administered to any mucosal surface. After a come up period of about 30-60 minutes, the acid trip typically lasts 8-10 hours.
The potential for having a “bad trip”, where one has a very dis-pleasurable reaction to the drugs, is always a very real possibility with psychedelic use. This can be particularly dangerous in a public setting such as a music festival, where help may not readily be available. (2)
Much like psychedelic drugs, cannabis use during music festivals goes back to their origin. Over the years, however, the strength of cannabis products sold has exponentially increased.
Like most large gatherings, alcohol abuse is rampant at music festivals. The incidence of alcohol poisoning is particularly high at music festivals, especially ones lasting multiple days. Alcohol also increases the risks for sexual assaults to occur. (4)
5) Psychedelic mushrooms
Psychedelic mushrooms (aka ‘shrooms) are mushrooms that have the ability to cause hallucinogenic trips when ingested. Psychedelic mushrooms have several street names, such as magic mushrooms, shrooms, and golden tops.
The primary psychedelic compound in mushrooms is psilocybin, which causes a 4-6 hour trip in users. Psychedelic mushroom abuse is very common during music festivals. Like other psychedelics, ‘shrooms carry the potential for bad trips. (5)
Dextromethorphan (DXM) is a medication commonly used in various cough syrups, elixirs, and cold products. When taken at higher doses, dextromethorphan can cause hallucinations and changes in perception. This is popularly known as “robo-tripping”, after the cough syrup Robitussin. Robo-tripping is particularly popular among adolescents and youth. (6)
Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Klonopin, etc) are medications commonly prescribed to treat a variety of both physical and psychological maladies. Benzodiazepines affect the neurotransmitter gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA for short), which is responsible for its effects. Benzodiazepines cause sedation and alcohol-like effects, and their abuse is increasing. (7)
A popper is a slang term for a class of psychoactive inhalants known as alkyl nitrites. The most common type of chemical used is amyl nitrate, which is also used legitimately in medicine.
The slang “popper” originated from the popping sound that the glass capsules in which amyl nitrate was originally packaged in would make upon being cracked open. Amyl nitrite is a volatile liquid at room temperature that is abused by deliberately inhaling its fumes. Poppers are commonly abused at gatherings such as music festivals. (8)
9) Nitrous Oxide
Nitrous oxide is another popular dissociative drug that is commonly found in normal household items, such as whipped cream canisters. When intentionally inhaled, nitrous causes the user to experience a short dissociative high.
Nitrous has the street names whippits, huff, rush, gluey, and others. Nitrous is very common during music festivals, and is often sold in the form of balloons where tailgating occurs. (9)
This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.