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Critical Care and Emergency Medicine - Mental Health - Non-Clinical Medicine - Pharmacology - Public Health and Epidemiology

Substance-Related Health Problems during Rave Parties in the Netherlands (1997–2008)
Published: Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Author: Jan Krul et al.

by Jan Krul, Matthijs Blankers, Armand R. J. Girbes

The objective of this study was to describe a 12-year (1997–2008) observation of substance-related incidents occurring at rave parties in the Netherlands, including length of visits to first-aid stations, substances used, and severity of the incidents. During rave parties, specifically trained medical and paramedical personnel staffed first aid stations. Visitors were diagnosed and treated, and their data were recorded using standardized methods. During the 12-year period with 249 rave parties involving about 3,800,000 visitors, 27,897 people visited a first aid station, of whom 10,100 reported having a substance-related problem. The mean age of these people was 22.3+/-5.4 years; 52.4% of them were male. Most (66.7%) substance-related problems were associated with ecstasy or alcohol use or both. Among 10,100 substance-related cases, 515 required professional medical care, and 16 of these cases were life threatening. People with a substance-related problem stayed 20 min at the first aid station, which was significantly longer than the 5 min that those without a substance-related health problem stayed. These unique data from the Netherlands identify a variety of acute health problems related to the use of alcohol, amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, and GHB. Although most problems were minor, people using GHB more often required professional medical care those using the other substances. We recommended adherence to harm and risk reduction policy, and the use of first aid stations with specially trained staff for both minor and serious incidents.