Electronic Dance Music (EDM) parties have drawn attention as popular haunts of opioid users. So much so that a study conducted by the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research (CDUHR) at the Meyers College of Nursing at NYU, suggests the need to focus on this increasingly popular scene as part of continuing efforts to reduce the harms caused by the growing opioid crisis.
The study revealed that in the past year, one (1) in 10 EDM party attendees have misused opioids beyond the national average. Estimates made in 2016 showed that nearly 11.5 million American individuals had misused opioid drugs intended as medical treatment. About 1.8 million of the users met criteria for drug abuse or dependence.
The alarming rise in opioid use has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. Growth in opioid drug misuse has been touted by health and disease control authorities as a main driver in the resurgence of heroin use, and other related adverse occurrences such as the spread of Hepatitis C and HIV. and Hepatitis C.
Researchers emphasized that the study was conducted mainly on EDM party attendees as a means of highlighting the need for preventive measures concerning the high-risk group of people using opioid drugs. They made careful note that their findings, does not necessarily apply to the general population.
Researcher for the CDUHR and lead author of the study, Joseph Palamar, PhD, MPH, who is also an associate professor at the NYU School of Medicine for Population Health, contends that there is a need to reach this population of opioid drug users frequenting the EDM party scenes…
in order to prevent initiation and continued use, as such conditions can lead to more frequent and riskier use, dependence, and at worst, deleterious outcomes like overdose — specifically when opioids are taken in combination with other drugs,”
EDM Party Scenes as Main Focus of the CDUHR Study
The party vibes in such EDM scenes, widely known as “raves” are largely characterized by the use of electronic dance music, ostensive use of drugs, massive crowd and the free-from-restrictions environment.
CDUHR researcher Joseph Palamar said that they have always known that attendees of EDM parties are at high risk of being exposed to the use of club drugs like Molly or ecstasy. The focus on EDM scenes is the need to know the extent of opioid use in this particular population.
During the summer of 2017, the CDUHR researchers observed and interviewed 954 individuals in ages ranging between 18 and 40, poised to enter EDM parties at different dance festivals and nightclubs in New York City. Interviews revealed that almost 23.9 percent of EDM party goers have taken opioids non-medically in their lifetime; 9.8 percent of which had done so in the past year.
The recent findings are higher than the previous statistics on national prevalence, which approximated only 4 percent of adults, aged 18 years and older, while only five percent of the survey respondents admitted to misusing opioids in the past month.
Opioid non-medical use or misuse, denotes having used any one of the 18 types of known opioids, namely codeine, fentanyl, heroin, OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin, for purposes of getting high or in other manner not medically prescribed. At EDM parties, the highest report on opioid use was attributed to OxyContin, followed by Vicodin, Percocet, and codeine syrup usually as a concoction to party drinks like Purple Drank, Sizzurp or Lean.