Halloween, in the recent past, has grown to be one of the major nights to party among adolescents and young adults. The present attitude toward Halloween as a party night is not only reflected by the substance abusing and chemically dependent populations, but it is viewed in much the same way by the mis-using population, too.
Currently, it is ranked among the top ten nights to party in a poll of persons between the ages of thirteen and twenty-five; and for many it is in the top five.
The drugs ingested are more varied, more numerous, and more available. Some of the drugs being used are the same drugs a person would find on a “regular party” night i.e. alcohol, marijuana, nicotine and, more recently, prescription drugs. However, it is likely that drugs used less frequently become more common on Halloween, especially hallucinogens. Hallucinogens are the class of drugs that induce auditory and visual hallucinations.
The most commonly used types of hallucinogens are mushrooms, LSD (acid), and ecstasy. The current mindset toward Halloween as a night to party also produces more alcohol and drug related accidents. According to Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) emergency room visits are five times more likely to occur on Halloween than on a “regular” weekend night. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) encourages families, schools, and other community groups to offer sober alternatives for this population of people. I encourage parents to expect, as always, sober fun and if your child is in treatment for substance abuse, drug test November 1st .
Jon Daily, LCSW, CADC II