United Kingdom -- The Association of Independent Festivals, which includes Bestival, T in the Park, Lovebox, and Sonisphere, has banned the sale of legal highs by onsite vendors at this summer's events. It was recently announced that Glastonbury will be joining the ban, bringing the number of participating festivals up to 25 - and counting.
Legal highs are substances that can produce similar effects to drugs like cocaine and ecstasy, but are not included under the Misuse of Drugs Act
due to a lack of adequate research. They are untested and unregulated, and because they often cannot be sold for human consumption, are labeled as plant food or bath salts to get around the law.
Legal highs are risky no matter how much is taken because the contents are often unknown and highly varied in composition. They can act as hallucinogens, stimulants, or sedatives, depending on the form and variety purchased. According to the BBC
, legal highs claimed 68 lives in 2012; this number has risen sharply in the past few years, up from 10 deaths in 2009.
To draw attention to the dangers of these substances, all festivals participating in the ban will take part in a 24-hour "digital blackout," starting on May 5 at 9:00 BST. The festivals' social media accounts and websites will be down, save for a grey light bulb and the message "Don't be in the Dark about Legal Highs."
The festivals participating in the ban are: Glastonbury, T in the Park, Bestival, Lovebox, Global Gathering, Secret Garden Party, Sonisphere, We Are FSTVL, 2000trees, ArcTanGent, Kendal Calling, Festibelly, Blissfields, Truck, Brownstock, Y Not Festival, Tramlines, Belladrum Tartan Heart, Leefest, Nozstock, Wakestock, Shambala, Glasgow Summer Sessions, Parklife, and Eden Sessions.
Drugs of any variety are not a joke. Educate yourself, be conscious of your choices, and stay safe this summer.