Let's Get Real About Drug Usage At Indian Music Festivals

Posted at January 14th, 2016 | by Shivani Goel | in Editorial, Entertainment, Featured, GVO Blog, GVO Opinion, Music Festivals

Drug use has been prevalent at Music Festivals for years now. We aren’t just talking herbals; people have been experimenting with chemicals across the world. In India, as the music festival scene has been booming, so has drug usage among the 18 to 35 bracket. It’s a harsh reality that we can’t ignore, and proclaiming NO DRUGS at hoardings and flyers at music festivals doesn’t solve the problem. The stricter festival organizers get about letting drugs in, the more creative festivalgoers get in smuggling them or consuming them beforehand.




If the only issue is that illegal substances are being used it wouldn’t be such a big problem, but the fact is that there are numerous casualties occurring because of over dosage. Hardly a big festival goes by without at least one report of a death. Authorities and organizers usually try to hush up cause of death because they don’t want to admit that these illegal activities are happening under their noses. Major reasons for this are that drug deaths might make festivals unpopular, and authorities may even reject festival permissions if such casualties keep occurring. There is no way to completely prohibit 100% usage, so instead of ignoring the problem, festivalgoers and organizers should come up with proactive solutions.




Festival organizers can easily print flyers recommending precautions and suggestions. Basic advice like staying hydrated, being wary of trying a new drug at an uncontrollable surrounding, and seeking immediate medical attention, may seem like common sense but for a lot of youngsters may not be well ingrained. Since the events are usually held at remote, large grounds, it is difficult to reach a hospital quickly in case of an emergency. There should be a few medical assistance outlets spaced out on the grounds for immediate help. The helpers can be in specific uniforms. Attendees should be made aware of the provisions. A few small steps can go a long way in helping. Some festivals like Tomorrowland have taken it a step further and have “Test Your Drugs” stalls, with kits and free pamphlets for the attendees.




Festival attendees, if determined to have ‘fun’, must be aware of what exactly they are consuming and what the possible side effects are. Staying hydrated is imperative and it’s advisable to have a designated sober friend in case things go wrong. Even minor side effects like paranoia would be greatly heightened in a crowded, loud environment, which is usually how music festivals are. Researching on the drug beforehand, buying it from a trusted source, and consuming it with someone who is knowledgeable are small things that can go a long way if things get out of hand.




Some drugs like marijuana are legal in some states but most drugs, like the commonly used ‘molly’ or MDMA which is one of the most popular choice of drug for festival attendees and also has one of highest number of cases of overdose deaths are still highly illegal. Other popular drugs used are cocaine, acid or LSD, and Ecstasy. All can easily be consumed to a dangerous level and all have extreme effects and side effects.

It’s ridiculous that we let people die for fear of admitting the rampant drug usage. These precautions are absolutely essential and may help in actually saving lives.



Shivani Goel

मुख्य लेखिका


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