Press release

‘Reduce Drug Harm’ at events and festivals this weekend

Published: 7 June 2024


The HSE is reminding people attending festivals, gigs and events this weekend to stay safe and well, and is encouraging people to ‘be in the know and reduce the harms’.

High strength drugs, including MDMA (pills, powders, cocaine and ketamine) continue to be a concern to the HSE and can pose a serious health risk. We know that higher strength drugs significantly increase the risks of harm, and may lead to drug emergencies. We are aware of adverse physical and mental health issues from these substances as part of the HSE’s ‘Safer Nightlife Programme 2024’.

Professor Eamon Keenan, National Clinical Lead, HSE Addiction Services, said: “Our main ADVICE is always that it’s safer not to use drugs at all. However, we are aware people may use drugs this weekend. We are reminding festival and event organisers of the need to work with us, help us share advice among those attending their events, and support our Safer Nightlife Programme 2024 to reduce harms for people attending their events.

“New trends such as MDMA powder and crystals are a concern for the HSE as it is harder for the person to know how much to take and it is easier to consume more MDMA than your body could handle leading to an overdose. Our message remains the same that there is always risk.

“While we know people may be afraid to get medical help after taking drugs, we want to encourage people to get that medical help at events this weekend if they feel they are having an unexpected reaction to a drug or if they become unwell. The medics' main priority is your health.”

How you can reduce the harms at festivals and events:

  • Avoid using more than one drug at a time, this includes using drugs with alcohol and prescription medication. Mixing drugs can be unpredictable and increase the risks.
  • Be in the know before you go: There is extra risk at this time. Drugs may be higher strength than you think meaning it is easier to take too much for your body to handle. Follow our X (Twitter) and Instagram accounts (Drugs.ie) for updates on drug trends, warnings and alerts. Our drug monitoring page will also be updated throughout the summer.
  • Tell your friends if you decide to use drugs at the festival: Try to have one friend who doesn’t use and be with people you trust. Avoid using alone, stick together and make sure no one is left alone.
  • Start low and go slow, take a small test dose. Pace yourself by taking a small amount and leaving time between use which can help you identify how you are reacting to the substance. If you don’t react as expected avoid taking more.

For more information visit www.drugs.ie/festivals or follow the conversation on social @drugsdotie or #HSESaferNightlife


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