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Substance-Related Health Problems during Rave Parties in the Netherlands (1997–2008)

Substance-Related Health Problems during Rave Parties in the Netherlands (1997–2008)

    Substance-Related Health Problems during Rave Parties in the Netherlands (1997–2008)

    Jan Krul1*, Matthijs Blankers2, Armand R. J. Girbes3

    1 Educare Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands, 2 Department of Psychiatry, Arkin and Amsterdam Institute for Addiction Research, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 3 Department of Intensive Care, University Hospital VU Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


    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 substancerelated problem. The mean age of these people was 22.3+/25.4 years; 52.4% of them were male. Most (66.7%) substancerelated 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.

    Citation: Krul J, Blankers M, Girbes ARJ (2011) Substance-Related Health Problems during Rave Parties in the Netherlands (1997–2008). PLoS ONE 6(12): e29620. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029620

    Editor: Jos H. Verbeek, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland

    Received September 30, 2010; Accepted December 1, 2011; Published December 28, 2011

    Copyright: © 2011 Krul et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

    Funding: This study is not supported financially by any means. Data are obtained from report files of Educare a non-profit foundation, which provides first aid at large-scaled events. The board of Educare consented in using data for scientific research.

    Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.