BACKGROUND: The popularity of virtual raves and happy hours has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. While nightlife settings are often associated with drug use, it is unknown whether virtual events are associated with use.
METHODS: Electronic dance music (EDM) partygoers who live in New York and reported recent drug use were recruited online and screened for eligibility throughout April and May 2020. Eligible adults (n = 128) were asked about virtual rave and happy hour attendance during the COVID-19 crisis. We examined prevalence and correlates of drug use during such events.
RESULTS: 55.5% of participants attended virtual raves and 69.5% attended virtual happy hours. 40.9% used illegal drugs during virtual raves and the most frequently used drugs were cannabis (29.6%), ecstasy/MDMA/Molly (8.5%), LSD (7.0%), and cocaine (4.2%). 33.7% used illegal drugs during virtual happy hours and the most frequently used drugs were cannabis (29.2%), cocaine (3.4%), and ketamine (3.4%). Older participants were more likely to use illegal drugs during virtual raves, and those reporting past-year use of more drugs were more likely to use drugs during virtual raves and/or happy hours (ps<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: EDM partygoers are at risk for using drugs during virtual events. Results can inform prevention and harm reduction efforts.
Virtual raves and happy hours during COVID-19: New drug use contexts for electronic dance music partygoers
International Journal of Drug Policy [Epub 2020 Aug 18]. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.102904. PMCID: PMC7448780.