Drugs and alcohol have been a consistent presence at concerts and festivals, like Coachella, for years. While different events tend to attract diverse groups of people, the presence of illicit substances is almost always a constant. Many of these events last for several days and include a wide-array of outdoor activities. People relish the chance to get away from work, obligations, and the rules of society, and many find themselves immersed in an environment that may encourage experimentation with illicit substances and put them in dangerous situations.
Teen Drug Abuse on the Rise
Unfortunately, the amount of teen drug abuse at festivals has become so commonplace that many do not think twice when exposed to it. In some cases, those who are not using drugs or alcohol are in the minority! Many teens and adults alike experiment with substances at these festivals for numerous reasons. The normalization of use and the desire to experience the festival in a new, invigorating way can influence even the most steadfast people to engage in activities they may have otherwise avoided.
Music Festivals and Drugs: A Deadly Combination
While substance abuse comes with its own set of risks and consequences, the environment in which it is used can introduce another level of risk. Due to the structure and nature of festivals, many put themselves at greater risk of serious consequences related to substance abuse. Long days, crowded locations, high temperatures, and a lack of rest can all work together to create a ticking time bomb. Many people experience dehydration, overheating, and exhaustion without the influence of drugs or alcohol. Substance abuse—combined with the side effects of the festival itself—can put people at risk for deadly consequences.
An Age-Old Issue
Drugs have been interwoven with the music scene for decades. Songs about substance abuse were popular long before the introduction of music festivals. Despite the measures put in place to prevent drugs from entering festivals, there is no shortage inside the grounds. Even though many people know consequences and have ample warning, they find themselves falling to temptation. Molly, ecstasy, marijuana, Adderall, and numerous other drugs are in no short supply and it is not uncommon to find people mixing substances in order to enhance their high.
EDM Music Festivals
Although substance abuse at music festivals has been prevalent for quite some time, the rising popularity of EDM music festivals has re-highlighted the risks. In recent years, several young concert-goers have died as a result of overdose. For some, this was accelerated by dehydration and exhaustion. Growing numbers of attendees exhibit symptoms related to substance abuse and are unable to get the medical attention they need as fast as they need it.
Sober and Want to go to Coachella? Tips for Sober Festival Fun
While it may seem that having fun at music festivals is only achievable through substance abuse, there are ways to enjoy a festival in a completely new way. There are several things to consider when making the most of your sober experience at a festival. These include:
- You are not alone: With the abundance of substance abuse at festivals, it can be easy to believe you are the only person in attendance who is sober. However, It is not uncommon to find sober groups of people supporting one another and enjoying the festival at the same time. Some festivals even have safe spaces for people who need a place to get away.
- Plan ahead: It can be difficult to maintain sobriety when so much temptation and influence is around. Have people you can call in case of emergency and bring a sober friend to the festival to help hold you accountable.
- Pack snacks and stay hydrated: Proper nutrition is important at festivals. While there are food options available, bringing your own will be healthier and less expensive. Although not all festivals will allow you to bring your own beverages, keeping your own drink on hand will help you avoid situations where you might be offered something you do not want. While you are not required to take a drink from someone, this can help make those conversations easier.
- Determine whether the festival has a sober tent: There are tents scattered throughout festivals that serve a variety of purposes. Many festivals will also include a sober tent to support concert-goers. Attendees can relax in the shade, rehydrate, and network with sober peers.
- Visit vendors: Music festivals offer numerous attractions outside of the concerts. At some festivals, you can visit a variety of food, clothing, and jewelry vendors. In some cases, there will even be booths with games and events. You do not have to spend your entire time at a festival in a sober tent—you can find ways to enjoy the atmosphere without putting yourself in any danger.
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