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How Not to Die at a Concert


Okay everybody, it’s time we talk about the binge drinking and teen drug abuse that’s going on at concerts. We’ve been seeing far too many drug-related deaths, injuries, and crimes at concerts. To put things in perspective, at one of Chance the Rapper’s concerts last month:

  • Over 90 individuals were hospitalized due to intoxication.
  • 50 were arrested for underage drinking related charges.
  • 70 police officers were called onto the scene.

The statistics from this concert are slightly higher than average, but they aren’t so far from the norm. EMT’s and other safety personnel attest to the fact that almost all large concerts, like Chance the Rapper’s, involve dozens of hospitalizations and arrests.

What goes on at these concerts?

Concerts, raves, and music festivals are the most common places where we see young people using “party drugs.” These include Molly, GHB, amphetamines, alcohol, cocaine, and more. Although musicians, venues, and safety personnel generally work towards reducing health risks, concerts are havens for teen drug abuse.

Oftentimes, users searching for ecstasy end up with something entirely different. Club drugs can be any combination of synthesized drugs whose effects are unpredictable. Drug dealers will often pass off bath salts, ketamine, caffeine, meth, or cough syrup for ecstasy. Thousands of young people consuming strange concoctions of unknown drugs is a recipe for disaster.

Music festivals and concerts are special, exciting events. It’s not every day that our teens find themselves in a sea of their peers, dancing and listening to their favorite music. This type of environment lowers inhibitions, especially for teens with developing brains, and encourages a more carefree attitude towards drug use. It’s not uncommon for teens to have their first drug or alcohol experience at concerts.

What can we do to make concerts safer?

In general, there are two ways to approach the problem of drugs at concerts. Risk reduction is an approach aimed at minimizing the dangers of drugs. This approach assumes that drug use is inevitable, so we might as well prepare for it. A zero-tolerance approach focuses more on keeping dangerous drugs out of the environment. This policy is more strict, which might reduce the quantity of drugs available. However, this approach may also discourage concert-goers from seeking medical help when drug-use goes wrong.

Currently, the most common strategies used to keep concert-goers safe are:

Hire safety personnel- Guards and ticket collectors can help improve safety by preventing guests from entering with dangerous drugs. If alcohol is being served at an event, the servers should be trained to look out for fake IDS and prevent underage drinking.

Zero-tolerance drug policies- Concerts and venues tend to have certain rules regarding drugs or alcohol. A zero-tolerance policy means that concert staff don’t let anything ‘slide.’ All drug use is reported and penalized with a zero-tolerance policy. The goal is to prevent drug related injuries before they can happen.

Providing safety materials: Some concert venues take a more lenient stance towards drug use. Instead of penalizing concert-goers that use drugs, concert staff provide materials to make drug use safer. In the past, we’ve seen venues pass out drug-testing kits. The kits allow guests to make sure they are not taking any adulterants. Free water bottles, and access to medical assistance can help keep guests safe too.

Education: Concert venues and many other entities, including us here at, work to educate the public about concert risks and teen drug abuse. Pamphlets, school assemblies, public service announcements, and blog posts like this one are all good ways to spread safety information.

Now, what can I do to stay safe?

Concerts shouldn’t end with an ambulance ride to the ER. Drugs might seem like a good way to enhance your concert experience, but they’re also a good way to ruin it. Throwing up, passing out, getting the spins; these things can really kill the mood. Next time you’re at a concert, remember to think about safety.’s founder, Brad Lamm has compiled a list of tips that will help you not die at your next concert.

  1. Don’t drink more than once alcoholic drink per hour (That doesn’t mean a bottle of vodka is one drink). If you space out your drinks, you’re more likely to make it to the end of the show without puking.
  2. Throw up if you think you’ve drank to much. I know it sounds gross but getting rid of the alcohol in your stomach will keep your brain from shutting down your central nervous system and killing you.
  3. If you’re an alcoholic or drink too much, consider having a few red bulls before the party instead of something harder. It’ll pump you up without all the risks of unknown chemicals in club drugs.
  4. Never mix alcohol with G (GHB), it’ll kill you. Just don’t.
  5. If you really don’t want to drink, take Antabuse which will make you throw up from your toes if you drink alcohol while you take it.
  6. Stay hydrated. You’ve heard it plenty of time, but nonetheless, it’s important. Dancing, drinking, and taking drugs will dehydrate you much faster than you realize. Don’t risk passing out and injuring yourself from dehydration.

If teen drug abuse is a problem in your family, and you don’t know what to do, please reach out to us at, we have the expertise to help you or your loved one to get clean and healthy.