Party Smarter – Safer Events and Festivals Campaign
The Party Smarter campaign seeks to reduce illicit drug related harm at high-risk settings including festivals, events and night venues in Western Australia.
The Drug Aware, Action Area Two, Safer Events and Venues ‘Party Smarter’ campaign commences on 10 October 2021 and will conclude in March 2022.
The campaign aims to contribute to reducing illicit drug-related harm at music festivals, events, and venues in Western Australia. A combination of individual factors, the drug itself and the environment in which it is taken determines the potential harm. This is demonstrated in the Drug Interaction Model.1 Due to factors closely linked to music festivals and other entertainment events such as high temperatures, extended periods of physical activity (dancing), close proximity to others, and lack of access the effects the drug taken can be exacerbated.2
The ‘Party Smarter’ campaign uses a combination of a highly targeted digital and social media strategy, out of home, and in-venue messaging to increase awareness of the potential harms of drug use at events and music venues, what individuals can do to reduce the potential of harm occurring and what signs they should look out for to know if they need help and to seek help urgently. Drug Aware also worked with event organisers to make environmental changes to support campaign messages such as access to water at events and providing areas to chill out.
Last updated October 2021
About the campaign
The campaign aims to:
- increase knowledge that MDMA in MDMA causes harm (not just adulterants);
- increase knowledge of harms associated with MDMA and poly-drug use;
- increase knowledge of, and encourage use of harm reduction strategies;
- increase knowledge of potential life-threatening symptoms;
- encourage patrons to seek medical attention immediately if experiencing potential life-threatening symptoms.
The campaign has a pre, during and post-event phase. Each phase has a different evidence-based objective:
Pre-event: increase knowledge of potential harms from MDMA and poly-drug use and harm minimisation strategies.
During event: remind users of harm minimisation strategies whilst in-venue, and encourage users to seek medical attention as-soon-as-possible if experiencing potential life-threatening symptoms.
Post-event: encourage users to seek medical attention as-soon-as-possible if experiencing potential life-threatening symptoms.
Young adults who attend high-risk events such as festivals, music events and night venues.
Using MDMA can increase your risk of heat stroke (dangerously high body temperature), serotonin toxicity (too much of the hormone, serotonin, released in to the brain) and hyponatremia (low salt in your body caused by increased sweating and excess water consumption). To reduce your risk:
- Hydrate safely – stick to 500ml (one small bottle or two cups) of water each hour.
- Chill out and take a break, especially if you’re feeling hot,it will help to cool you down.
- Know the signs that you need to seek help asap.
- Keep your cool. Use chill out spaces between sets OR find a spot to chill out.
- Stay hydrated safely. Drink water regularly, but no more than 2 cups (500mL) per hour.
- Using MDMA? Take a small amount and then wait to feel the effects (highly targeted).
- Feeling confused, agitated, or got a killer headache? Medics will help, not throw you out OR dial 000 ASAP.
- Got cramps, shakes or a racing heartbeat? Medics will help, not throw you out OR dial 000 ASAP.
- Nausea that won’t go away? Finding it impossible to cool down? Medics will help, not throw you out OR dial 000 ASAP.
Encouraging people to seek medical help asap if:
- Feeling confused, agitated, or got a killer headache?
- Got cramps, shakes or a racing heartbeat?
- Nausea that won’t go away? Finding it impossible to cool down?
The target audience is encouraged to visit the ecstasy use at festivals and music events section of the website for tips and information.
Some of the campaign materials used in the campaign are included below. If you are interested in extending these materials at an event please reach out to the Drug Aware team.
Pre-event harm education videos
Pre event and during event harm reduction strategies
During event and post event harm signs
Independent social research agency, Kantar Public was engaged to conduct mid-campaign evaluation following the campaign's first year in market. A 15-minute online survey was conducted in April 2021 and comprised of respondents who had used MDMA at festivals, events, venues and/or at house parties in the metropolitan region.
Key evaluation findings included:
- Close to a third (30%) of people who used MDMA recognised the campaign when prompted.
- The campaign was very well understood, with over 90% able to recall messages that accurately reflect the campaign’s messaging objectives.
- One in 10 respondents found the campaign novel, relevant and impactful. This is in the top 25% of Australian benchmark norms.
- More than half of the respondents (56%) claimed the campaign would make them more likely to take (harm reduction) action to stay safe when using MDMA.
- One in four young adults did take some kind of harm reduction action as a result of the campaign and over one in 10 claimed to have taken steps to inform themselves of the potential harms of MDMA and how to be safe when using it.
Download the campaign and evaluation summary for more findings from the mid-year evaluation.
- Health AGDo. Interaction Model 2004 [Available from: https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/drugtreat-pubs-front12-fa-toc~drugtreat-pubs-front12-fa-secb~drugtreat-pubs-front12-fa-secb-2~drugtreat-pubs-front12-fa-secb-2-5.]
- Rigg K, Sharp A. Deaths related to MDMA (ecstasy/molly): Prevalence, root causes, and harm reduction interventions. Journal of substance use. 2018;23(4):345-52.