Peer work is also conducted in nightlife venues


(bars, nightclubs, etc.) and in other recreational settings that young people frequent to enjoy their free time. Since the electronic and dance scene developed towards the end of the 1980s, the nightlife industry has changed rapidly.  Today, events can vary from small and informal to a mass event where more than 100,000 young people will gather.   Dance has become lifestyle.

Consuming substances is known to take place at these nightlife venues.  Consumption varies between populations, regions and events and may include a wide variety of legal and illegal substances and/or combinations of both.  The risks due to the use of illicit drugs and alcohol in nightlife settings can have an impact on other party-related risks such as violence, unsafe sex practices, hearing-related risks, drunk driving, etc.

“Typically, a number of different self-help, non-governmental or scene-based organisations provide interventions at parties.  Risk reduction materials are usually developed in styles that emulate youth cultures. Volunteers who provide peer education […] may occasionally be recreational drug users themselves or have used drugs in the past.” EMCDDA,2006



Peer initiatives

In Europe, the electronic and dance music community has developed rapidly during the past few decades.  The first peer project in the dance community emerged in 1989 in Edinburgh (from Crew 2000), followed by other community-based groups all over Europe.  Over the 1990s, more structured collaborations with night club owners, drug services, party organisers, police and local health authorities were established to create conditions for safer dancing/clubbing.

A range of instruments are used to increase partygoers’ awareness on the risks they take and to promote a safer environment:  drug  information leaflets, chill out areas, drug-testing/checking, websites, safer dance guidelines, charters and labels.

Some of these initiatives were completely independent and based upon a particular event, while others were part of the work of larger organisations.  Since the beginning of concerns about the risks at dance/nightlife, peers have been an integrated part of safer nightlife initiatives.

“Experience learns that ‘the more the partygo-ers themselves participate, better are the results’”. BASICS Network



References and links

  • Many European initiatives in the party scene have been compiled by the BASICS Network, initiated in 1998. The BASICS Network currently consists of initiatives from 12 European countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland).  The website of the BASICS Network also includes some documents and information on peer-led work.
  • A recently completed initiative on nightlife is Healthy Nightlife, coordinated by the Trimbos Institiute in the Netherlands.  The project produced the Healthy Nightlife Toolbox (HNT), an international web-based project focusing on the reduction of harm from alcohol and drug use among young people in nightlife settings.  It is designed to support local, regional and national policymakers and prevention workers in the EU.  It also discusses target group participation.
  • Another European initiative, Safer Nightlife, was carried out by the community-based NGOs and the administrations involved in the BASICS Network and the Democracy, Cities and Drugs (DC&D) Safer Nightlife Platform.  The ‘Nightlife Empowerment & Well-being Implementation Project’ (NEWIP) will propose responses to the new challenges in the fields of harm reduction and health promotion, using recreational settings.
    The initiative is also collecting good and best practices on nightlife sites and online peer interventions,  and, over time, will produce an online manual on safer nightlife.