Prevalence of self-reported adverse effects associated with drug use among nightclub and festival attendees, 2019-2022


Background:

Research investigating adverse effects from drug use has focused extensively on poisonings and mortality. This study focuses on drug-related adverse effects not necessarily resulting in hospitalization or death among a population known for high prevalence of party drug use-electronic dance music (EDM) nightclub and festival attendees.


Methods:

Adults entering EDM venues were surveyed in 2019-2022 (n = 1952). Those reporting past-month use of a drug were asked whether they had experienced a harmful or very unpleasant effect after use. We examined 20 drugs and drug classes with a particular focus on alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, and ecstasy. Prevalence and correlates of adverse effects were estimated.


Results:

Almost half (47.6%) of adverse effects involved alcohol and 19.0% involved cannabis. 27.6% of those using alcohol reported an adverse effect, while 19.5%, 15.0%, and 14.9% of participants reported an effect from use of cocaine, ecstasy, and cannabis, respectively. Use of less prevalent drugs, such as NBOMe, methamphetamine, fentanyls, and synthetic cathinones, tended to be associated with higher prevalence of adverse effects. The most consistent risk factor was younger age, while past-month use of a greater number of drugs was often a protective factor against adverse effects. For most drugs, taking too much was the most common perceived reason for the adverse effect, and visiting a hospital after use was most prevalent among those experiencing an adverse effect from cocaine (11.0%).


Conclusions:

Adverse drug effects are common in this population and results can inform prevention and harm reduction in this population and the general population.

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