Take care when experimenting with sex & drugs as festivals restart, experts warn young people
With almost all coronavirus lockdown measures disappearing on Saturday, making festivals, parties and human contact possible for the first time in what feels like forever, experts in the Netherlands expect this to be a exuberant summer of love. But make sure you don't overdo it immediately, they warn young people.
Rutgers, the Dutch knowledge institute on sexuality, launched a special online campaign to get young people back into the swing of flirting and having sex again. "With the so-called summer of love on the way, it is high time that we strengthen young people with targeted activities and refresh their memory about how to keep it fun and safe together," Rutgers said.
On a special online platform - set up by Rutgers, SOA AIDS Nederland, and health service GGD - young people can find answers to questions on things like how flirting works again, getting tested for sexually transmitted infections, and tips on feeling confident in their own skin.
Rutgers is also launching a new "Are you okay?" campaign for the catering and entertainment industries and student associations, to help workers here recognize unwanted sexual behavior and give them tips on how to respond and help.
Because it has been such a long time since people have been to a festival or club, there is a good chance that they'll have a lower tolerance for alcohol and drug use, addiction care Novadic-Kentron warned. "This puts them at risk of using too much. This increases the risk of anxiety or panic attacks and irritation or aggression," the institute said, AD reports.
"Everyone had to hold back and suppress the need to go out," Danielle Ketelaars, prevention worker at Nvadic-Kentron, said to the newspaper. This could result in people overcompensating for lost time when they finally get to go out again. "This while they are not yet used to all the stimuli that will come at them."
Ruben van Beek, psychologist at the Trimbos Institute for addiction care, also warned that the long-awaited return to nightclubs and festivals may be overwhelming. "I think that many people, apart from the drug use, have to get used to just walking around a party again. There is a risk that young people will immediately want to use all their energy. There is a chance that they have exercised less and are therefore in worse shape than the last time they went out. We hope they really get their rest, instead of taking another pill," he said to AD.