There is growing concern among researchers that drug policy tactics at music festivals are harming rather than preventing attendees.
Researchers from St Vincent’s Clinical School at the University of NSW investigated the phenomenon of “panic overdoses” at music festivals – a reactionary behavior that causes visitors to consume large amounts of banned substances for fear of being apprehended by law enforcement.
the guard notes that the study began with a sample of 1,229 participants, 30% of whom admitted they were planning to use drugs or had already done so. The most common drug preference was MDMA.
In addition, about half of those planning to use MDMA (48%) reported resorting to higher-risk consumption behaviors to avoid being caught with the substances. This included consuming multiple doses of the drug prior to entering the festival in question.
Researchers concluded that this risky behavior was closely related to the observation of those in attendance at the event. This included patrolling officers, the use of drug sniffer dogs, and house searches at entrances. Researchers reportedly hope that the police climate at music festivals can be reformed to reduce the risk of panic overdoses in the future.
“I really hope we can have a conversation, not about removing the police completely, but possibly a different approach to policing strategies that isn’t just about criminalizing drug users,” said study researcher Dr Jonathan Brett of the University of NSW . the guard. “Everyone wants people to be safer and healthier, so we need to discuss how best to achieve that.”