Drug trend update for festival goers
Not everyone uses drugs at festivals, but if you choose to use we want to raise awareness and educate you about the current risks to help you to reduce the harms.
Get information on the latest drug market trends
- See our results from 'back of house' analysis at Electric Picnic here
- Learn about the latest EU MDMA trends here
- Learn about the latest cannabis trends (synthetic cannabinoids) here
- Learn about cannabis edibles here
- Learn about nitrous oxide here
- See our page on relevant warnings and alerts here
Festival Drug Do’s and Don’ts
All drug use has risks. It’s safer not to use drugs at all. If you do, think about how to minimise the harms to your health.
- Check in with yourself: You could be in a different headspace after COVID restrictions. Each person’s mental health status is unique to them. As a result, each person will have a different relationship with substances.
- Tell your friends if you decide to use drugs at the festival. Try to have one friend who doesn’t use and be with people you trust.
- Plan to take less. Your tolerance may have changed if you stopped using drugs for a while during COVID-19 restrictions.
- Start low and go slow, take a small test dose. Pace yourself by taking a small amount and leaving time in between use can help you identify how you are reacting to the substance. You can then consider if you choose to take more.
- Charge your phone, stick together and don’t leave anyone alone.
- Keep cool and stay hydrated. Pack a re-useable bottle and get free water at the event. Take breaks from dancing and give yourself time to cool down.
- Check the map, know where the medical tent is and know what you will do if there is an emergency.
- Be a good bystander and look after yourself and care for others.
- Get medical help if needed. Don't be afraid to get help if you or a friend becomes unwell or feel suicidal after using drugs. At festivals, the medics are your mates and your wellbeing is their main priority.
- Always be honest with medics about what was taken, they are there to help. Knowing what was taken can help them respond.
- Try new drugs or new types of drugs for the first time at a music festival.
- Drink over a pint of water an hour. MDMA can confuse your body temperature, you feel warm, thirsty and urination is difficult. Drinking too much water to cool down or to try urinating can be dangerous. Too much water may lead to ‘water intoxication’ that can dilute your blood and flush out essential electrolytes that keep your brain and body working.
- Use bank notes to snort and avoid sharing snorting paraphernalia (straws/tooters).Sharing can spread infection.
- Mix drugs, including alcohol and prescription medication. Mixing drugs can lead to unwanted and unpredictable effects and increases your risk of a drug emergency. MDMA can interact with some mental health medications that enhance serotonergic activity such as ‘SSRIs’. It can also be risky to suddenly stop taking some prescription medications to use substances.
- Rely only on colour metric drug testing kits to keep you safe. They have limitations.
- Use drugs in secluded locations or use alone.
- Forget to eat and look after your general wellbeing.
- Drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol after the event. Consider that substances may be in your system and still detected if you choose to drive home.
- Use drugs if you feel low, anxious, depressed or have mental health concerns.
- Use alcohol or other drugs to cope with social anxiety after COVID restrictions. Situations that we were comfortable with before may now be strange or difficult. Using during tough times or times of stress can impact on how you react to a substance, including alcohol.