Parklife and Manchester’s growing drug problem

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The Parklife festival makes a return this summer bringing the likes of Frank Ocean, Stormzy, Two Door Cinema Club and The 1975 to Prestwich, Manchester.

The festival is taking place on the 10th and 11th of June and, along with it’s stacked lineup is also hosting its usual well known techno, drum and bass and house DJ’s.

The festival is known for attracting large crowds of up to 70,000 people per day and particularly appeals to young, dance music fans.

Unsurprisingly this opens the door to the use of drugs as it is increasingly becoming the social norm for the dance music scene to attract high levels of drug use.

Manchester has always had a notable affiliation with drug and dance culture with venues like The Haçienda being synonymous with drug culture throughout the ’80’s and ’90’s.

Security companies, such as Showsec, work with the Greater Manchester Police over the two day festival to ensure peoples safety and enjoyment.

 Last year was deemed a successful year as only 38 arrests were made out of the 70,000 people who attended, however a large majority of these arrests were for possession of drugs with the intent to supply.

Despite the thorough searches that take place upon entry of the festival, including the use of sniffer dogs and full body searches, people go to extensive lengths to successfully sneak drugs into the event.

According to a Guardian poll from 2014, at least a third of 16-24 year olds have taken illegal substances, and in the year 2014/15 there were 106 deaths caused by drugs in Greater Manchester alone.

After speaking to students from the University of Salford who have attended the Parklife Festival, it was startling to see how little they were shocked by the use of drugs, as if it was a very normal thing to come across at a music festival.

The students stated that ‘it’s pretty drug heavy’ and ‘there is a strong stigma against Parklife for drug use’. One interviewee even described a situation she found herself in where a girl was being treated by paramedics at 11:30am due to a drug overdose.

Another major concern for students is their safety while at Parklife. Past years have seen several cases of violence at the festival, including the death of Robert Hart, who was punched in the head during the year 2014. As well as a 17 year – old who was stabbed at the festival in 2015. 

Unfortunately, despite, the high levels of security at the festival it is near impossible to ensure that drugs and violence don’t make an appearance over the course of the two days.

To see the full Parklife line up go to http://parklife.uk.com/

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