With nightclubs and festivals closed during the coronavirus pandemic, many have opted to use drugs during virtual raves and happy hours, according to the findings of a new study.
The researchers conducted online surveys in April and May 2020, when the pandemic was at its worse. Nearly 130 New Yorkers said they attended virtual electronic dance music parties and consumed drugs.
“We explored whether stay-at-home orders changed how people use drugs — and it appears that drug use during virtual gatherings is somewhat prevalent among the party-going population we studied,” said study author Joseph Palamar, an associate professor of population health at NYU Langone Health in New York City.
Of the respondents, around 56% had attended virtual raves, and 70% had attended virtual happy hours during the pandemic. More than one-third of respondents said they had used illegal drugs.
The survey found that roughly 70% of participants used alcohol and around 30% used marijuana during these events. Other drugs, such as ecstasy, LSD, and cocaine were less common. About 10% of participants said they used those drugs.
Palamar, who’s an associate professor of population health at NYU Langone Health, noted that using drugs at home may be considered “safer,” but also poses other risks with the participants being alone.
“My main concern is potential adverse social effects of using drugs on camera because this could compromise one’s career,” he said. “This applies to [the] use of weed as well because this can still compromise one’s relationship with an employer, even in 2020.”