Drugs at festivals

Drugs at festivals

Drugs: the basics

Drugs are a part of everyday life, so it is no surprise to find them at festivals. The best way to stay safe is not to take drugs! Remember it is okay to say ‘no’. Here are a few basic steps to help you keep well at a festival if you do decide to take drugs. Following our simple advice may help you to have fewer risks of bad side effects:


  • Festivals are unfamiliar and crowded environments and are not the best places to have bad experiences after taking drugs. You may not know what is in the drugs, how they might affect you or what will happen when mixed with other substances, including alcohol. There is potential for having unwanted side effects and the longer term effects are unknown.
  • The same drug enforcement laws are applicable at festivals as they are anywhere else in the country. Police officers are usually present at festivals dealing with drug offences in accordance with national policy. People who take drugs to festivals risk having them confiscated and could be evicted from the festival site. Buying drugs at festivals is also very risky as people may be taken advantage of, could be sold fake substances or risk them causing harm or even being life threatening.
  • Beware of mixing drugs, including alcohol. Mixing drugs makes it more likely for you have a bad experience from reducing the effect of each substance to a potentially fatal interaction, let alone wasting your money.
  • Stay safe; look after yourself and each other. Do not take drugs on your own. Never pressure or persuade anyone into taking drugs (or more) if they do not want to. Tell each other what you have (or think you have) taken and if you start to feel unwell.
  • “Legal highs” are all now illegal and “legal” was never considered to be safe or mild. Cheap does not mean weak and pure does not mean safe. What it says on the packet is not necessarily what is in the packet. Some drugs used to be legal, and some never were. Some do not work, and some are even more dangerous than the “traditional” illegal drugs. In most cases we do not know what is in the drugs and what effect they are likely to have.
  • Some drugs like Ketamine and LSD can make you lose track of what is happening around you which is dangerous in a festival environment.


If you do decide to take drugs:

  • Eat first, so that you do not have an empty stomach. Keep hydrated with water; aim to drink a pint of water an hour – but not all in one go. Always have a bottle to fill up with water during the day, and remember to have water in your tent.
  • Try a small amount (half a pill, a small dab for example) first; wait a couple of hours before deciding whether to take more. However, how long different substances take to work may affect people differently. If you do not seem to have an effect from the drug take care when taking more as they could all work at once and make you really unwell.
  • Beware of the bottom of the bag – where the drug may be more concentrated.
  • Adverse reactions can result from experimenting with drugs; if you or your friends do take drugs and become ill, depressed or frightened, seek help and to not be afraid to say what you have taken. If you need calm, quiet safe and judgement-free place to cool down and recover the people at the Welfare Tent can help. However, if you think you or a friend may need medical help, speak to a member of staff or attend the Medical Tent. Medical care is about treating illness and saving lives whatever the cause of the ill health so you must tell them what you have taken and when.


Advice and information on drugs: