What Happened When We Tested Women's Drugs at a Music Festival
Certain data shows females are more likely to be hospitalized for MDMA overdoses than males and that females are more likely to get their drugs from someone else as opposed to buying the drugs themselves. Investigative reporter Salma Haidrani decided to do her own experiment at a UK festival. Equipped with a drug test, Salma wanted to see for herself whether a random sample of women at the fest knew what was in their drugs. Find out what happened by checking out her article below.This article originally appeared on Broadly
ALL PHOTOGRAPHY ALICE ZOO
Research shows that most people don't know what's in the drugs they consume. We took some drug testing kits to a dance music festival to find out.
The human psyche is a strange and powerful thing. Otherwise rational people often make decisions that defy logic: deferring knowledge of their exact STI status, or not checking up the chemical composition of the molly they're planning on taking that weekend. But—like timely sexual health checks—testing your stash is vitally important. Knowing how strong your drugs are can be the difference between a fun-filled night spent snorting coke off your best mate's bald head, and an ambulance ride—or worse.
Recent years have seen British musical festivals plagued by a string of deaths, a trend some campaigners attribute to the ever-increasing purity of drugs in circulation. In August 2016 alone, two teenagers died of suspected drugs overdoses in a matter of days. While both of those who tragically lost their lives were men, evidence suggests that women may be more susceptible to the harmful effects of illegal drugs overall.
These widely-reported deaths haven't gone unnoticed by drugs policy campaigners. Advocates for harm reduction—an approach that recognises that people will always do drugs, and seeks to provide them with the information to stay safe—have begun to take pioneering steps into the festival scene.
In the UK, Secret Garden Party became the first festival to pioneer drugs testing as part of a harm reduction approach. In a UK first, forensic drugs testing charity The Loop ran a drop-in facility within the festival. But support for on-site drug testing has yet to make its way to our American and Canadian cousins across the Atlantic, in part because of a more litigious culture. Testing drugs on site, some argue, implicitly condones drug use—a nightmare from an insurance perspective if someone dies or gets hurt.
Mounting evidence suggests that women don't tend to buy their own drugs. According to the 2014 Global Drugs Survey, 73 percent of women ask their friends to pick up drugs on their behalf, compared to 57 percent of male users...