Electronic dance music party-goers at increased risk for drug-related emergencies

August 21, 2019

People who frequent electronic dance music (EDM) parties often use multiple drugs simultaneously and experience adverse effects with some ending up in the emergency department, say researchers at New York University School of Medicine and Rutgers University.

The study, published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, is the first to survey adverse effects associated with use of dozens of different drugs and could improve treatment for drug-related emergencies.

The researchers surveyed 1,029 people ages 18 to 40 as they entered EDM parties in New York City in 2018. They were asked about their use of drugs -- including opioids, alcohol, marijuana and other common illegal drugs -- over the past year, whether they had experienced adverse effects after using the drugs, and if they sought medical care. Adverse effects were defined as harmful or very unpleasant effects in which users were concerned about their immediate safety.

The study estimates that one-third of people at these events, commonly held at nightclubs and large outdoor dance festivals, have experienced a drug-related adverse effect over the past year. Of these, 40 percent experienced an adverse effect on more than one occasion and 5 percent experienced adverse effects on four or more occasions. Also, the more frequently people attended these parties, the more likely they were to experience an adverse drug reaction. The study also found that two-thirds of adverse effects involved alcohol, more than one-third involved marijuana, and 15 percent involved Ecstasy, commonly referred to as "Molly" when in powder or crystal form.

"Alcohol use was associated with the greatest number of adverse outcomes, perhaps due to its ubiquitous nature and its impact on judgment," said study co-author Lewis Nelson, a professor of emergency medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

"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," said lead author Joseph Palamar, an associate professor at the NYU School of Medicine.

About 37 percent of adverse effects occurred after marijuana use and more than one-third of these ate edible marijuana. "This may be the result of consuming too many edibles to accelerate the high or to experience a more intense or prolonged high. The increasing, and unpredictable, potency of cannabis also contributes to the difficulty in controlling the dose consumed" Nelson said.

One-fifth of those using Ecstasy or Molly reported an adverse effect. Of these, 14 percent felt the need to visit an emergency department, and one-half of those people did seek such help. Prescription opioids were used less than other drugs; however, 41 percent of nonmedical users had experienced an adverse reaction, with 14 percent making a trip to an emergency department. "Opioids are a high-risk group of drugs, particularly when used in combination with alcohol or other drugs," said Nelson.

Although infrequently used, synthetic cathinones - also known as "bath salts" -- were most likely to result 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," Palamar added.

"While we couldn't deduce to what extent adverse effects occurred at these parties, these are high-risk venues due to a combination of drug use and environmental factors," he continued. "Dancing for hours, hot temperatures, and dehydration appear to exacerbate the risk for adverse effects among those who use drugs."
-end-


Rutgers University

Related Science Articles from Brightsurf:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.

Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.

Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.

World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.

PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.

Read More: Science News and Science Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.