Jochen Schrooten

Team leader prevention of substance misuse in recreational setting , VAD - Flemisch centre for expertise on Alcohol and other Drugs , Drug policy for festivals



Jochen Schrooten is bachelor in psychology and master in criminology employed at the Flemisch centre for expertise on alcohol & drugs (VAD) in Brussels. He is working for 20 years in the field of prevention in recreational settings developing, implementing and evaluating different prevention and harm reduction interventions. Jochen is team coach prevention in recreational settings, coordinator of the Flemisch Early Warning System on Drugs and board member of the European safer nightlife association (NEWnet). For this NIGHTS22 conference he is the co-curator of the panels related to drug policy.


Extrema outdoor Belgium, a case study of the implementation of a balanced and integrated drug policy.
The use of alcohol and other drugs is a reality at music festivals. Yet alcohol and other drugs can negatively affect the safety and health of festival-goers. A balanced and well thought alcohol and drug policy tailored to festivals is a must for the smooth, pleasant and safe running of each music event. This policy consists of four pillars: rules and procedures, information provision, environmental interventions and care and support. This translates at the festival into coordinated measures that minimise the risks to those using alcohol and other drugs.
The success of the drug policy increases as the above components are developed in proportion and reinforce each other through good cooperation and coordination between the stakeholders involved. Extrema outdoor, one of the biggest electronic music festivals in Belgium, celebrated it's 10th edition this year with 50.000 visitors over 3 festival days. After a man died under the influence of illegal drugs last edition (2021), cooperation between all stakeholders was intensified. The festival organisation, the police, the public prosecutor, the local and regional prevention workers, the harm reduction teams and the medical team worked together to develop a well-tuned and supported drug policy that was fruitfull. In this presentation, the case study and the results are presented by various stakeholders involved at Extrema.