Music Festival-Goers' Drug Habits Are Changing - Or Are They?

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Drug use at festivals
Drug use at festivals

Research into drug use at festivals has suggested music lovers are still using recreational drugs at events - just as they did in the swinging sixties - but the type of narcotics they are consuming could be shifting.

The days of cannabis and ecstasy being the drug of choice for a weekend of mud, music and mayhem seem to be waning. Instead, use of cheaper drugs like ketamine, a horse tranquilliser, seem to be on the up, according to a report in The Guardian.

Between 2009 and 2011, seizures of cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy all fell by over 65%, figures from research based on police activities at 10 major festivals over the past four years, and obtained by a series of Freedom of Information requests by Request Initiative, has revealed.

The ten festivals researched were Glastonbury, V, the Isle of Wight, Bestival, Download, Sonisphere, Leeds, Reading, Womad and Wireless.

However, Rupert George of the drugs charity Release has warned against taking this research as a broader outlook of the UK drugs scene.

Speaking to The Huffington Post UK , he suggested police cuts could have affected the figures and helped lead to the 65% drop in seizures.

"Currently police are having to undergo 20% cuts. It would be interesting to see if police are choosing to avoid drug arrests at music festivals to avoid the cost of processing hundreds of people and transporting them from festivals," George said.

He also reasoned that the large drop in seizures may be due to a rise in legal highs, which are now banned at some festivals such as Leeds, Reading, Big Chill, Bestival, Latitude, V and T In The Park, but were not included in the research.

George explained: "We don't have clear evidence of the level of legal high use in the UK currently. It would be interesting to see how legal highs might be affecting drug use in the UK this summer."

For more on the types and quantities of drugs seized by police at UK music festivals, read a full report on the research results in The Guardian.

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