The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

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Students take part in drug abuse among teens at music festivals

At the Electric Zoo festival held this past Labor Day weekend in Randall Island, NY, two deadly ecstasy overdoses prompted officials to cancel the final day of the festival, according to The Daily News.

In addition to New York, illegal drugs have proven to be problematic in the music festival scene in Chicago as well. According to article published in the Huffington Post, at least 10 felony drug charges were made at the Lollapalooza festival this summer in Grant Park.

Drugs seem to have been connected to music for decades, and some South students reflect on their experiences using drugs at music festivals.

Junior Jessica Davis* has used drugs at music festivals. Davis said her drug of choice at music festivals is ecstasy, which is a drug that is commonly referred to as “molly.” Although Davis acknowledges her responsibility in taking drugs at festivals, she said peer pressure also plays a factor in the decision to use drugs.

“When you hear the term music festival, you kind of just assume drugs will be there,” Davis said. “Drugs and music festivals kind of go hand-in-hand.”

According to an Oracle-conducted survey of 160 South students, 80 percent said that they or someone they know has used drugs at a music festival.

Similar to Davis, senior Tommy Snyder* has used drugs at numerous festivals and believes students choose to experiment with drugs at music festivals.

“I think that part of the reason that people who have never used drugs before start to use them at festivals is because of the hype,” Snyder said. “I also think that during this age, a lot of kids are very experimental and want to try different things. Most people think when they’re at a festival, given that they have a whole day, they think it’s safer to experiment with drugs there when in reality it’s not.”

According to sophomore Adam Mitchell*, students are more likely to use drugs at a music festival because of how common they are at the venue.

“[Drugs] are all around you at music festivals, so it makes it seem like it’s okay to use them,” Mitchell said.

Once she makes the decision to consume  drugs, Davis describes the feeling of being high at a festival as a more carefree experience than being sober.

“The vibe [at festivals] is different when you’re not sober,” Davis said. “You’re with all of your friends, having a good time, forgetting about stuff and just listening to music, not thinking about anything else.”

Like Davis, Snyder also says his drug of choice at music festivals is ecstasy. Snyder says that being under the influence of ecstasy at a music festival transforms the experience and how the music affects him.

“Music just feels like an exaggerated force that runs entirely through my body [while under the influence of ecstasy],” Snyder said. “Ecstasy in general turns a festival from just an experience into a full-body experience.”

Despite his choice to use, Snyder does recognize the dangers that come with using drugs at festivals.

“Even if the danger [turns out to be] miniscule, […] you still have the other possible dangers, like overdosing or dying,” Snyder said.

According to, drugs such as “molly” can cause dehydration through vigorous activities in a hot environment, such as summer festivals. “Molly” also interferes with the body’s ability to regulate its temperature and possibly cause hyperthermia which can lead to serious heart and kidney problems, or even death. When drugs are taken in high doses or within a short time period to maintain the high, high levels of the drug in the blood stream can increase the risk of seizures as well.

According to Davis, when purchasing drugs at a music festival, buyers need to be aware of what exactly they are purchasing to avoid potential dangers.

“You never really know what’s in [the drug],” Davis said. “You’re not positive that it’s what you want. There is a chance that you can buy something that doesn’t work or you can buy something that knocks you out.”

Davis said that she is conscious of the dangers of using drugs at music festivals, but she uses them despite the risks.

“I definitely think about [the dangers of drugs] before I use,” Davis said. “But when it comes down to it and I’m standing there with it in my hand, in the back of my head I’m saying ‘no,’ but in the moment I’m thinking, ‘just go ahead.’”

Though junior Ryan Chang* admits to smoking marijuana at music festivals that he has attended in the past, he believes that certain drugs are more dangerous to consume at music festivals than others.

“I think that using drugs such as molly or drinking alcohol is dangerous at music festivals,” Chang said. “[Even though] I do not think smoking weed at festivals is dangerous, […] I do not depend on drugs to have a good time at festivals. I can still enjoy [the festival] without them.”

*Names have been changed.

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