As consumer behavior has made the dramatic switch from in-person to virtual entertainment over the past few months, researchers are beginning to learn more about how fans are adapting to the change.

Researchers at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and the NYU School of Global Public Health studied one particular aspect of the switch, inquiring whether virtual festival attendees have a propensity to use drugs during the event. According to the study's lead author, Doctor Joseph Palamar, that's an affirmative. 

"We explored whether stay-at-home orders changed how people use drugs—and it appears that drug use during virtual gatherings is somewhat prevalent among the party-going population we studied," Palamar said.

Around 40% of those surveyed who attended a virtual rave this year also reported using an illegal drug and 70% reported consuming alcohol during the event. Those findings are based off of a survey sample of 128 self-reporting EDM revelers from New York. Based on the survey, it seems the general switch to virtual events has retained the interest of dance music fans overall, with over 55% of the sample reporting that they have attended at least one virtual rave during quarantine. 

Ultimately researchers see virtual events as a potential future touchpoint for outreach with regard to education and harm reduction efforts. The academic study was first published by the International Journal of Drug Policy.

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