Summer is just around the corner and for some that means a slew of outdoor concerts and festivals. These are wondrous times for celebration with good friends, food and music. These music events are also a time where many young adults experiment with drugs. Each and every year there are more and more cases of overdose injuries and fatalities. Families that must endure these horrific incidents are left with a glaring hole in their lives. These terrible incidents should never happen and continue to plague our society. Festival hosts must also deal with these troublesome situations. They can have their abilities to host the music festivals revoked. As a result these venues are employing different policies to try to limit the damage caused by drug use.

A Psychedelic History

Native Americans have been recorded to using psychedelic drugs dating back 5,500 years. A small cactus grows in the Southwestern part of the country that is known as peyote, which is similar to mescaline. The United States has deemed it legal for use by any members of the Native American Church. It is known to have been used for religious ceremonies for a number of Native American Tribes. Ayahuasca has been used for hundreds of years by the people of the Peruvian Amazon. It is a mixture of plants that cause hallucinogenic images and a religious experience. LSD was a popular hallucinogenic during the era of rock n’ roll of the seventies. Before this time it was mainly used by the government in research. LSD and other older varieties of hallucinogens have lost their popularity. Today’s young adults are more likely to consume mushrooms that produce similar, but not as vivid hallucinogens. While the future is always unknown, professionals believe the hallucinogens of the future will be more synthetic than natural.

Ways Festivals are Dealing with Drug Use

Festivals have also been characterized by risky behavior, especially drug experimentation and abuse. As more accidents happen these venues had to deal with legal battles. In response, they have attempted to reduce the problems that occur with drug use. Zero tolerance policies are the most common and first step that must festivals take. Unfortunately, young adults attending these festivals/concerts are more willing to abuse drugs than they are afraid of getting into trouble for harming themselves. The “harm-reduction” approach was created and implemented as a response to this characteristic of concert goers. Concerts understand that young adults are more willing to take risks to get high. Advocates of this method believe that no matter what they try to do young adults are going to experiment and abuse drugs at concerts. Therefore, they will provide a safer atmosphere for it, many provide drug testing kits for concert patrons. These kits are not 100% accurate, but recent studies have found that most people who purchase the popular party drug “Molly” have actually bought bath salts instead. Lighting in a bottle offers drug testing kits, information on drugs and hands out water to partiers to reduce the chances of overheating and dehydration, which are effects of MDMA.

These are great methods that festivals can employ to help reduce the harm of psychedelic drug use at concerts. Total prevention is impossible. Humans have been experimenting with drugs for centuries and that is not going to change. The only thing that these festivals can do is attempt to keep the patrons as safe as possible. Educating young adults on the dangers of drug use and abuse can help them to make better choices when faced with these situations. A combination of zero-tolerance and harm-reducing tactics would be the best model.