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Reduce the harms at festivals



For many people festivals are the highlight of the summer. Here at, we want your festival experience to be as safe as possible and one to remember for all the right reasons.

Not everyone will use substances at festivals and it is always safest not to use drugs at all. However, we know that drug use takes place across nightlife and festival settings and we want to raise awareness of the current risks and encourage people to reduce the harms.

Be in know about the current drug market

We are concerned about the current drug market including high strength MDMA (pills, powders/crystals), cocaine and ketamine. Higher strength drugs increase the risks, it may be easier to quickly overconsume.However, new substances have also been appearing in MDMA in the UK. We are also concerned about the risk of drugs known as synthetic cannabinoids appearing in cannabis products such as herbal, edible and vapes.

The HSE Safer Nightlife Programme and ‘Back of house’ drug checking 2023

This summer we will provide ‘back of house’ drug checking at a small number of events to help us monitor drug trends in circulation.  This will work by people depositing drugs in HSE surrender bins so the HSE can conduct analysis and warn the festival if extra risky drugs are in circulation. Bins will be located in the and medical tent at Life Festival, Body and Soul and Electric Picnic. Harm reduction teams will be available onsite to support this work. Find our volunteers on outreach in purple and pink high vis vests or in the tent onsite. 

Follow our Twitter and Instagram for updates on drug trends, warnings and alerts.

We will review what other locations we may be at through the summer months.

Results from 'back of house' drug checking a Life Festival May 2023

Find out more about the ‘back of house’ drug checking provided by the HSE

How you can reduce the harms at festivals:

Festival resources 

Social media imagery

Get more information 

For further information about the HSE Safer Nightlife Programme please contact Nicki Killeen, Emerging Drug Trends Project Manager, HSE National Social Inclusion Office. 

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The HSE and Union of Students in Ireland (USI) ask students to think about drug safety measures when using club drugs
Harm reduction messages from the #SaferStudentNights campaign.
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