Drug Use in EDM Events: A New Study Highlights The Numbers

New research published in the International Journal of Drug Policy studied the adverse drug-related effects. The study aims to get a clear view of these effects and help with prevention and harm reduction efforts.

The subject of the study :

The population of the survey was 1029 adults attending EDM events in New York City in 2018.

The study then focused on those who had used drugs in the past year. It covered whether they experienced unpleasant effects that made them worried about their safety. The survey also asked questions about the use of multiple drugs. And whether the users asked for help in case of problems.

The results:

The study shows that a third (33.5%) of the surveyed population experienced an adverse effect related to drug consumption.

Two-thirds (67.8%) of these cases are related to alcohol consumption.

“Alcohol use was associated with the greatest number of adverse outcomes, perhaps due to its ubiquitous nature and its impact on judgment,”.

Lewis Nelson, professor of emergency medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

The survey also highlights that the use of multiple drugs was very common especially when it comes to the users of some drugs. More than half of LSD users (56.5%) reported using another drug during the same event. Almost the same can be said for ketamine (56.3%), cocaine (55.7%), and ecstasy/MDMA (47.7%).

In addition, the study shows that synthetic cathinone (“bath salt”) resulted in most of the cases (57.1%) in a hospital visit.

“Our finding about ‘bath salt’ use leading to emergency room visits is particularly alarming because we’ve been finding that a lot of people who think they’re using Molly are often using ‘bath salts’ without realizing it,”.

Joseph Palamar, an associate professor at the NYU School of Medicine


Adverse effects related to drug consumption are common in today’s EDM scene, and combining different types of drugs only increases the risk. The study states that more research is needed to focus on the specific parameters related to this type of events.

“Our findings suggest that drug use is not only prevalent among people who attend electronic dance music parties but that there’s also a substantial amount of drug-related harm…Dancing for hours, hot temperatures, and dehydration appear to exacerbate the risk for adverse effects among those who use drugs.”

Joseph Palamar, an associate professor at the NYU School of Medicine