Party drug use in techno nights: A field survey among French-speaking Swiss attendees

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Abstract

This study was designed to investigate the lifestyle and substance use habits of dance music event attendees together with their attitudes toward prevention of substance misuse, harm reduction measures and health-care resources. A total of 302 attendees aged 16–46 years (mean=22.70, S.D.=4.65) were randomly recruited as they entered dance music events. Rates for lifetime and current use (last 30 days) were particularly high for alcohol (95.3% and 86.6%, respectively), cannabis (68.8% and 53.8%, respectively), ecstasy (40.4% and 22.7%, respectively) and cocaine (35.9% and 20.7%, respectively). Several patterns of substance use could be identified: 52% were alcohol and/or cannabis only users, 42% were occasional poly-drug users and 6% were daily poly-drug users. No significant difference was observed between substance use patterns according to gender. Pure techno and open-air events attracted heavier drug users. Psychological problems (such as depressed mood, sleeping problems and anxiety attacks), social problems, dental disorders, accidents and emergency treatment episodes were strongly related to party drug use. Party drug users appeared to be particularly receptive to harm reduction measures, such as on-site emergency staff, pill testing and the availability of cool water, and to prevention of drug use provided via counseling. The greater the involvement in party drug use, the greater the need for prevention personnel to be available for counseling. General practitioners appeared to be key professionals for accessing health-care resources.

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