Drug Testing: Kissing at music festivals and other summer activities

Lolita Tsanaclis

Lolita Tsanaclis

on Aug 8, 2023

At Cansford, we often engage in discussions via our live chat about the intricacies of drug and alcohol testing. As the season of vibrant music festivals and outdoor celebrations is here (despite the rain and bad weather), we recently received a thought-provoking question: Can a person test positive for drug use after kissing someone who has consumed drugs?

This query got us reflecting on the atmosphere of music festivals, outdoor events, and the potential implications of such interactions.

Drug taking at festivals

Exploring the festival scene

Amidst the kaleidoscope of lights, the pulsating rhythm of music, and the collective euphoria of festivalgoers, it's important to consider the factors that may influence drug testing outcomes in this dynamic setting.

Key considerations for festival drug testing

Frequency of drug use: The frequency with which a substance is used can impact testing outcomes. While hair analysis provides insights into historical drug use, real-time tests, such as oral fluid tests, can offer a more immediate assessment of recent use, making them particularly relevant in the context of festivals.

Impact of festival elements: The unique elements of a music festival, including glitter, vibrant hair dyes, hairsprays, and other cosmetics, can potentially influence the accuracy of test results. Substances used for cosmetic purposes might affect the drug detection process, underscoring the importance of interpreting test outcomes within the festival context.

Hair growth and festival experiences: The rate of hair growth varies among individuals, and the time window for detecting drug use through hair strand testing depends on this growth rate. For festival attendees, this timeline could be influenced by factors such as frequent exposure to elements like sun, water, and air – all of which may impact hair growth patterns.

Variability of festivalgoers: People attending music festivals come from diverse backgrounds and possess distinct biological and physiological characteristics. Individual variations in hair growth rate, metabolism, and other factors contribute to the complexity of drug testing outcomes.

Celebratory atmosphere: The celebratory atmosphere of festivals can influence individuals' behaviour and interactions. Kissing and close contact are common occurrences, potentially raising questions about the potential transfer of substances through such interactions.

Festival and Drugs image x 1 - FINAL

In other cases, elsewhere…

In 2016, a notable case involving a pole vaulter inadvertently absorbing cocaine through a kiss highlighted the need to understand the thresholds for drug exposure. Dr. David Juurlink, a clinical pharmacology and toxicology expert, emphasised the minimal amount of exposure required for a positive result. The scenario serves as a reminder of the importance of informed decision-making amidst festival celebrations.

Concluding thoughts

As the rhythmic beats of music festivals beckon, it's worth acknowledging that while testing positive for drug use due to kissing is highly unlikely, the dynamic festival environment can introduce complexities.

We draw parallels between the festive traditions of mistletoe-kissing and the vibrant, energetic spirit of summer music festivals, underscoring the importance of enjoying these moments responsibly.  You can read our Christmas blog post here.

For those seeking further insights into drug and alcohol testing, as well as tips for a safe festival experience, we welcome you to connect with us. Feel free to engage with us through our live chat, reach out via email at, or contact us by phone at (0)29 2054 0567.

Lolita Tsanaclis

Lolita Tsanaclis

Dr. Lolita Tsanaclis, Chief Scientific Officer of Cansford Laboratories Limited, has been developing methods for the analysis of drugs in hair since 1993. She has been involved in drug testing using hair, blood and oral fluid samples for medico-legal and workplace sectors for over three decades. Dr Tsanaclis is published extensively as author and as co-author in highly regarded peer-reviewed publications and scientific presentations.

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