Party subculture or dens of doom? An epidemiological study of rave attendance and drug use patterns among adolescent students

J Psychoactive Drugs. Apr-Jun 1997;29(2):193-8. doi: 10.1080/02791072.1997.10400187.


Based on 1853 questionnaires derived from adolescent students participating in the 1995 Ontario Student Drug Use Survey, this article describes the prevalence of rave attendance and the drug-use profile of rave attendees and those participating in similar activities (i.e. bush parties). The results showed that 13% of the sample attended a rave during the 12 months before the survey. Although rates of drug use were higher among rave attendees than nonattendees, differences were more related to participation in other recreational activities. The drug-use pattern for one-third of rave attendees (those who did not attend similar activities, i.e., bush parties) was not dramatically different from those who attended bush parties only. However, for two-thirds of rave attendees, drug use was significantly elevated. Although rave attendance is not prevalent, experienced drug users are attracted to raves, as earlier generations of drug users were attracted to rock concerts. Consequently, although the size of this population is relatively small, the implementation of harm reduction strategies is appropriate.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Culture
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Students
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology