An ongoing coronial inquest into drug-related deaths at NSW Festivals has been presented new research about Aussie drug use.
As The Guardian reports, Criminologist and Dr. Caitlin Hughes presented research from the 2019 Global Drug Survey, which found 79.5% of Aussie punters who attended festivals had taken MDMA in the past 12 months.
The survey of over 4,391 Aussie festival goers found that alcohol was the most-consumed festival drug with 96.6% of respondents partaking.
74% of punters had used cannabis and 69.1% had taken cocaine in the past year.
Despite the high levels of use, the report found that just 6% of users sought medical help, despite the fact that two-thirds of alcohol drinkers at festivals consumed quantities considered “binge” drinking”.
“While we’re focusing on MDMA, alcohol is the drug that is associated with most problematic rates of use,” Dr Hughes said.
Dr Hughes took time to emphasise the point that most users of MDMA and other illicit drugs are festivals are “educated, have jobs and are productive, full members of society.”
“When you look at illicit drug patterns specifically, it’s consistent with non-problematic ways,” she said.
“It’s not to say people who go to festivals aren’t using in problematic ways… the majority will be using fairly infrequently, fairly modestly and only going to festivals once or twice [a year].
“While we’re focusing on MDMA, alcohol is the drug that is associated with most problematic rates of use,” Hughes added.
The ongoing inquest is looking into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Nathan Tran (18), Diana Nguyen (21), Joseph Pham (23), Callum Brosnan (19), Joshua Tam (22), and Alex Ross-King (19), who at music festivals between December 2017 and January 2019.
The inquest has seen friends and relatives of those who died testify, with common themes discussed including harm reduction and pill testing.
Other points of discussion have included invasive and intimidating behaviour during strip searches, over-policing and continued reliance on inaccurate detection dogs, and issues surrounding the medical treatment of those suffering overdoses.