Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School

New York Study Tracks Drug Use At EDM Events: Here’s What It Said

Almost a quarter (23.9%) of EDM partiers may have misused opioids in their lifetime, and one in ten (9.8%) have used in the past year, says a study by the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research (CDUHR) at NYU Meyers College of Nursing. This is higher than the national average of about 4% of adults 18 and older.

The term “misuse” in this study is for using the drug non-medically. The study surveyed 954 individuals from the ages of 18-40 as they were about to enter EDM events at night clubs or music festivals around New York City. Approximately 5% of those studied used opioids in the last month.

The study’s lead author, Joseph Palamar, PhD, MPH, says “this population of experienced drug users needs to be reached to prevent initiation and continued use, which can lead to riskier and more frequent use, dependence, and deleterious outcomes such as overdose.”

The university states the most commonly used opioid was OxyContin, followed by Vicodin, Percocet and codeine. Nonmedical benzodiazepine use was also common. These are sedative drugs like Xanax, Valium and Klonopin.

An estimated 5.7% of non-opioid users would try it recreationally if offered by a friend in the next 30 days. In the same circumstances nearly three quarters (73.6%) of those who used benzodiazepines in the past year reported they would use again.

The university also claims that those who smoke cigarettes or use other drugs (including amphetamine, methamphetamine, and cocaine) were more likely to report misusing opioids in the past month.

These results are a direct contrast to the idea of the typical “club-drug” perception of raves and EDM parties. The university states the results may not apply to the general public, but “highlight the need for prevention efforts in this high-risk group.”

While this may be a selective population, as the sample only consisted of New York party-goers, what does that mean for our scene with the current opioid crisis? Considering the recently published stats from Shambhala’s ANKORS team, it’s definitely important for us to continue bringing harm reduction to the forefront.

What are your thoughts on this study? Do you agree with these stats? Share your thoughts in the comments!