New Report: Preventing Drug and Alcohol-related Harms at Music Festivals in Canada

A new report calls for increased collaboration and offers recommendations to prevent and reduce alcohol and drug-related harms at Canadian music festivals.

In the summer of 2014, at least five young adults died while attending Canadian music festivals. Many more were treated onsite or admitted to hospital. Alcohol or drug use or both was strongly suspected as a contributing factor in these deaths and illnesses. The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) in partnership with the University of British Columbia’s Mass Gathering Medicine Interest Group (UBC MGM) hosted a multi-sectoral group of stakeholders to discuss what is known about drug and alcohol-related harms at such festivals and what can be done to prevent and reduce related harms.

Recommendations stemming from the meeting include:

• Engaging early and often with community stakeholders before, during and after the event
• Improving real-time monitoring and the rapid exchange of information regarding known drug risks, suspected drug incidences and other health concerns
• Providing safe physical spaces separate from the main crowd with trained support staff
• Developing an optimal medical response for music festivals, including capacity development of medical professionals to work in such environments
• Developing a national framework or common approach that can be adapted, based on needs and capacity, to enhance and standardize security practices across events and jurisdictions

Check out the report for a comprehensive list of recommendations: