Musical Misuse

by: Robert Regler

Summer is about to reach its peak and many people will be looking for activities to do. One popular summertime event that people like to engage in are concerts. Because of the nice weather, promoters like to host outdoor concerts which will increase the number of people in attendance. Unfortunately, most of the time these events have more than just music at them. At times people use these mass gatherings to sell and consume illegal substances. The large number of people in attendance at these events provides sellers a new and open market, while the high energy environment causes people to try things they may not in real life. These two factors create a dual hazard that can cause trouble for concert goers.

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  Concerts tend to attract those who enjoy drinking alcohol and consume illegal substances. Many people will tailgate in the parking lot beforehand and other will sneak alcohol into the venue. In a survey of 976 people roughly 57 percent of people are said to have been under the influence of either drugs or alcohol while attending a music event. Within this demographic about 93 percent stated they consumed alcohol at these events while the rest admitted to using some form of drug whether it was marijuana, cocaine, or opioids. In addition, some admitted alcohol was their main motivation in attending their concert.

 Concerts have taken a harm reduction approach to combating this epidemic. Harm reduction simply believes that people are going to engage in these activities no matter what. Rather than placing all their efforts into preventing people from taking drugs and alcohol, they will allocate resources to prevent people from further harming themselves when they do consume these substances. Having first aid staff on site as well as having an ambulance within the vicinity of the venue are two examples of concert staff employing harm reduction strategies. However, it is ultimately up to the individual to steer clear of engaging in these activities in the first place.

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 There are several reasons why you would want to stay clear of drugs and alcohol while in a concert venue. Drugs and alcohol impact your way of thinking and ultimately the decisions you decide to make. Because you are surrounded by hundreds of people you do not know, you want to be fully aware of what is going on around you. In addition, you are already in a hot, summer environment with numerous people surrounding you. The side effects of drugs and alcohol can cause you to experience negative side effects that will cause further discomfort.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you whether you want to engage in these activities when you attend a concert this Summer. The Southwest Council provides free presentations on drugs and alcohol for both parents, community members and for schools. If you are interested in having a presentation, please feel free to reach out at (856) 794-1011 or visit us online at