Raising awareness of drug safety throughout the year and implementing a series of harm reduction measures on site designed to safeguard our citizens has long been a priority for us and we are proud to be able to say we have participated and led the way in this safety drive.
We do everything we can to keep drugs out of the festival through:
- Searches at the gates
- Passive & proactive drug dogs
- Spotters on gates
- Festival drug experts
- Ejection at the gate if you are caught in possession of illegal drugs
- Extensive CCTV coverage across site
For more information on what our security is briefed to do head to our Safety page.
Provide education and support services to protect those planning on taking drugs
- Amnesty Zones at entry gates - for people to legally dispose of drugs without judgement or repercussion
- Roaming campsite welfare teams
- Fully equipped Medical Centre
- The Loop drug awareness tent
- Welfare Centres
- On-call Mental Health response team
We utilise our back of house drug testing providers to identify harmful substances circulating at the festival and keep those in attendance informed with as much factual information as possible throughout the weekend via our social channels, festival app, on the various operational screens and information points across the festival.
See drugs as a welfare issue
- Increased welfare and medical provision
- Outreach welfare teams and an on-call mental health team
- Additional specialist medical resources
Processes to deter illegal drug supply and the open use of drugs
- Enhanced searching at gates all weekend
- Resources targeting suspected dealing
- Eviction as a minimum for anyone suspected of drug dealing
- Receipted confiscation of any drugs seen to be openly consumed
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Please read below for information on the four areas we have highlighted as key points that many people should be fully aware of before experimenting with drugs;
- The increased strength of drugs
- The severe dangers of drug misuse (including prescription drugs)
- Effects of polydrug and alcohol use
We provide robust and extensive medical and welfare support onsite and this includes working alongside The Loop to provide front of house drugs safety information.
The Loop do not currently operate a public drugs testing service, however they will be present at Boomtown to offer information and guidance on drugs to our festival goers for free.
1. INCREASED STRENGTH OF DRUGS ON THE MARKET:
It is so important to know what you’re putting into your body. Due to the unregulated production of illegal substances, each and every pill, powder or liquid is likely to be different and therefore could have an entirely different effect.
In gov.uk’s United Kingdom drug situation 2019: Focal Point annual report, MDMA is the second most commonly reported stimulant in UK household surveys.
In 2005, pills contained around 80MG of MDMA. Now, the average sits at around 160MG,. Stronger IS NOT better. It’s more lethal. ALWAYS start slow and allow your body to feel the effects. A lot of drugs have come on the market that are incredibly pure, which doesn't mean they are ‘safer’ or good for you... Always pace yourself, stay with friends, and do not mix substances.
The crush-dab-wait campaign from The Loop is a really helpful approach.
2. BE AWARE THAT DRUGS CAN AND DO KILL (EVEN IF YOU DON’T THINK IT COULD EVER HAPPEN TO YOU…)
Always know what you are taking and the likely effects it will have on you, especially if mixed with other substances. Make sure you are with friends and know what each other are taking, where it came from and the key factor of all, pace yourself. Respect yourself, your surroundings and most importantly, your body.
If you or any of your friends find yourself in trouble with something you have taken, please tell someone and ask for help. You will not be judged, or in trouble, and we will do what we can to help you medically, psychologically or emotionally. It is far more important to us to keep you safe.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTED RISKS INVOLVED WITH USING VARIOUS DRUGS…
Not only does taking Ketamine dissociative you with the festival surroundings,e, it also has some very serious and very real side effects;
- Ketamine is a very powerful anaesthetic that can cause serious harm.
- Taking Ketamine can be fatal, particularly if it is mixed with other drugs or alcohol.
- Ketamine can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. It can make you confused, agitated, delirious and disconnected from reality.
- Because you don't feel pain properly when you've recently taken Ketamine, you can injure yourself and not know you've done it.
- Abdominal pain, sometimes called ‘K cramps’, have been reported by people who have taken ketamine for a long time.
- In the longer term, Ketamine can cause serious bladder problems, with the urgent and frequent need to pee. This can be very painful and the pee can be blood-stained. Although stopping using Ketamine can help, sometimes the damage can be so serious that the bladder needs surgical repair or even removal.
- The urinary tract, from the kidneys to the bladder, can also be affected and incontinence (uncontrolled urination) may also develop.
- In the immediate, you can pee yourself!
- Evidence of liver damage due to regular, heavy Ketamine use is emerging. The liver has a range of important functions, such as cleaning your blood and removing toxic substances.
MISUSE OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: BENZOS - VALIUM, XANAX, TAMAZEPAM
Just because a drug has been prescribed by a doctor it does not mean it is safe for use in any other way then one instructed by the physician. The most common prescription drugs to be misused include sleeping tablets or tranquilisers (benzos), anabolic steroids, painkillers and treatments for mental health issues.
The drug group benzodiazepine, (‘benzos’) are primarily misused to come down from other drugs such as ecstasy or speed (amphetamines). It is a highly dangerous combination as the tranquillisers can be ‘numbing’ and when taken with alcohol the combined depressant effects can easily cause a fatal overdose by inhibiting breathing or slowing down vital organs.
If you feel unwell, or even just a bit uneasy and need some support, please seek out one of the festival representatives, either from medics, welfare, steward or security and they will help you to a place of safety.
3. DANGERS OF POLYDRUG (MULTIPLE DRUG) USE:
Using more than one drug at a time is known as polydrug use. Poly use intensifies the effects of any individual drug and makes them more dangerous. For example, mixing stimulants, such as ecstasy and cocaine, can increase the high, but also the risk of heart attack. Combining substances can not only have fatal effects on the body, but can also affect the mind by severely depleting serotonin levels in the brain, which can spark issues such as depression and anxiety.
Mixing alcohol and other substances is probably the most common form of polydrug use, as many people don’t think of alcohol as a ‘drug’. Alcohol can however, have a big impact on the way many substances affect you. Some of the time this involves enhancing the effects of the other drug, but with many substances, alcohol can create a dangerous, potentially fatal, chemical reaction.
The more drugs that are used simultaneously, the greater the risk is. Do not mix substances. Make sure you are fully aware of all the dangers and side effects that could be caused. ALWAYS make sure your friends are aware of what you are taking and that someone is with you at all times.
ALCOHOL & COCAINE
This combination results in the formation of an entirely new chemical in the body — cocaethylene. In other words, when cocaine is broken down in a body that is also intoxicated with alcohol, the long-lasting chemical cocaethylene forms instead of the usual cocaine products.
- Cocaethylene is associated with liver damage, seizures and immune system damage.
- The risk of immediate death is approximately 20 times higher from cocaethylene than cocaine.
- Tests show that levels of cocaine in the blood can increase as much as 30%. This increases the strain on the cardiovascular system.
- Increases in violent behaviour and suicidality have been reported when cocaine and alcohol are used together.
ALCOHOL & ECSTASY
Alcohol may moderate the high you get from Ecstasy, and you may not feel as strong an effect as usual. But then it is likely that you will feel much worse when you come down off these drugs.
- Both Ecstasy and alcohol cause dehydration which can increase one’s chances of heatstroke when dancing in a hot environment for hours
- There is a greater strain on a person’s liver and kidneys, which may lead to nausea and vomiting.
- Both drugs cause impairment of a person’s judgement. Risky and dangerous decisions and actions may result.
ALCOHOL & OTHER STIMULANTS
Alcohol abuse may be combined with Ritalin, Adderall, methamphetamine or amphetamine. Some diet pills, over the counter cold remedies and even strong energy drinks can also be dangerous.
- As with cocaine, these stimulants can obscure the sedating effects of alcohol, enabling a person to get dangerously drunk without fully realising it. The user may try to drive, which is dangerous to both yourself and others nearby.
- As with Ecstasy, overheating is more likely to occur which can lead to organ damage.
- A person abusing this combination may lose their inhibitions but be irritable and aggressive. Emotions may run out of control. The results can be disastrous.