At the Drug Policy Alliance, we believe that people who attend music festivals, concerts and clubs should have access to honest, accurate drug education and life-saving services. They should not be needlessly criminalized.
Whether for purposes of healing, ritual or fun, humans throughout history have combined the use of intoxicating substances and music. The vast majority of people who use drugs do so non-problematically — meaning they aren’t addicted or causing great harm to themselves or others.
Nonetheless, zero-tolerance drug policies and enforcement efforts are ubiquitous. They haven’t stopped people at music festivals from using drugs. Instead, they cause unnecessary arrests and deaths, disproportionately of young people.
Harm Reduction is the most effective stance to take toward drug use at music events. This approach prioritizes access to honest drug education, onsite harm reduction services and safe settings at every festival, concert, or club.
We’ve managed to create room for a very risky drug — alcohol — in our lives and party spaces. Acknowledging the risks and benefits of other drugs is the foundation of building a healthier relationship to drug use for our society.
DPA’s “Safer Partying” campaign works toward the following four goals:
We know that the threat of arrest doesn’t stop people from using drugs when they party. We want people to have honest, accurate information to stay safe, enjoy the music and have fun.
DPA has been working to make festivals, concerts and clubs safer for a number of years. DPA fought the RAVE Act when it was initially proposed in 2003 by then-Senator Joe Biden, warning that it would have unintended consequences if passed. Now, the work of fighting to amend the RAVE Act and reduce harm in the music scene in general is encompassed by the #SaferPartying campaign.
If you’ve been arrested at a festival, concert or club and are in need of immediate legal assistance – or can offer some – DPA’s Safer Partying campaign has partnered with The Festival Lawyer to create the Fest Law Network. We see it as harm reduction for our current drug policy.