Attitudes and Beliefs About New Psychoactive Substance Use Among Electronic Dance Music Party Attendees
Background: Attitudes and beliefs about drug use have been shown to be robust correlates of use of drugs such as alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine; however, little is known regarding attitudes or beliefs about new psychoactive substances (NPS). We sought to examine attitudes and beliefs about NPS and how they relate to self-reported use in a high-risk population—electronic dance music (EDM) party attendees. Method: 1,048 individuals (age 18–40) were surveyed entering EDM parties in New York City in 2016. We queried lifetime use and attitudes and beliefs specific to NBOMe, 2C series drugs, “bath salts” (synthetic cathinones), tryptamines, dissociative NPS, and synthetic cannabinoids. Results: More than half the sample reported being unfamiliar with NPS other than “bath salts” and synthetic cannabinoids. “Bath salts” received the highest ratings of strong disapproval (34.3%), followed by synthetic cannabinoids (23.3%), compared to other NPS (10–14%). “Bath salts” were perceived to be a great risk by 43.1% of the sample, followed by synthetic cannabinoids (27.0%), and other NPS (12–16%). “Bath salts” were reportedly least likely to be used if offered (2.9%). In multivariable models, reporting no disapproval towards use was associated with increased odds of reporting use of 2C drugs, “bath salts”, and tryptamines. Having friends who use and reporting intent to use or willingness to use if offered were also associated with use of various NPS classes. Conclusions: This study delineated attitudinal and belief-related correlates of use of various NPS classes. Results can inform prevention effects as NPS continue to emerge.