Opioid use has grown to epidemic proportions in the US and has been a main contributor to a resurgence of heroin use as well as the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C, the team from New York University said.
‘Electronic dance music (EDM) party goers are at a higher risk of misusing opioids like heroin.’
"We've always known that electronic dance music party attendees are at high risk for use of club drugs such as ecstasy or Molly, but we wanted to know the extent of opioid use in this population," said Joseph Palamar, Associate Professor at New York University.
"This population of experienced drug users needs to be reached to prevent initiation and continued use, which can lead to riskier and more frequent use, dependence, and deleterious outcomes such as overdose - particularly if opioids are combined with other drugs," Palamar added.
To reach this conclusion, the researchers surveyed 954 individuals (ages 18 to 40) about to enter EDM parties at nightclubs and dance festivals in New York City.
Attendees were asked about the use of 18 different opioids -- including OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, codeine, fentanyl and heroin.
The researchers found that almost a quarter (23.9 per cent) of EDM party attendees have used opioids non-medically in their lifetime and one out of 10 (9.8 per cent) did so in the past year.
Five per cent of respondents reported misusing opioids in the past month.
The study, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, noted that OxyContin was the most highly reported opioid used in this scene, followed by Vicodin, Percocet, codeine and Purple Drank, also known as Sizzurp or Lean (which typically contains codeine syrup).
In addition, people who smoked cigarettes or used other drugs (including amphetamine, methamphetamine and cocaine) were more likely to report misusing opioids.