Music festivals are a real place of freedom for young people. A chance to escape from the stresses of everyday life, work, university and even relationships. It’s the opportunity to see world class music, and for many, experiment with drugs for the very first time.
Many feel that at festivals, it’s kind of a lawless society – after all, you only need to watch Trainwreck: Woodstock 99 on Netflix to see an extreme example of that. But lawless it was, and fuelled heavily by drugs.
Drugs are widely consumed at festivals and while many do look to seize unlawful substances on entry, many slip through the net and can cause severe damage to not only people in the immediate-term, but long term too.
Every year we see people die at festivals due to drug abuse, so much so it’s almost become part and parcel. Bad batches and incredibly toxic concoctions can see dozens of people fall ill, while for many others it’s a gateway to addiction, completely changing someone’s lifestyle just from a weekend of “freedom”.
Speak to many who have suffered from drug abuse that are now seeking treatment for their addiction and you’ll find stories that stem back to festivals or wild weekends away, meeting new “friends” who have fallen into the trap of addiction and essentially land you in a bad crowd, becoming a product of your environment.
Surveys have shown that around 60% of people use either alcohol or drugs at festivals, with 40% of those taking marijuana and around one in 10 consuming MDMA or ecstasy, the vast majority of these people being young, showing that it’s more difficult remaining sober at a festival than ever before.
One of the main reasons that people are taking these is to increase energy. Naturally, given that the medicinal usage of many of the drugs taken are to do that, or at least have side effects of such nature, then it opens the eyes to usage beyond music festivals and into every day life, for example gaining more energy to get through a night shift, or for that final 50 km of driving – which of course is incredibly dangerous.
And it’s that which is probably the biggest cause for concern when it comes to drug usage at festivals. Yes, there are real health dangers while at festivals, with the side effects and risks of drug usage the same in that environment as any other, but then there’s also that pathway to addiction and a reliance on them in the “real world”. This can have even more catastrophic effects on relationships, careers, finances, and, most importantly, your own health.