In my experience, most people unfa,iliarwith Burningman think it's about drugs and sex. And it is, but if it weren't about a whole lot more than that, why would we bother?
You can get high or drunk anywhere.
Of course, I've been loaded most of the time I've been at BRC. Maybe I was too fucked up to notice, but my impression was that far fewer people were screamingly out of control than at your typical large sporting event.
I think the desert just takes it out of you. The physical landscape demands so much from your system that you have to keep pumping in the dope just to keep up a buzz. There are also enough people around, most of the time, who are interested in looking after others that the bad overdoses or drunken acts cruelty doen't happen with the intensity and frequency you'd expect.
As far as cops go, they are like sharks. They react to aberrations in their environment and atypical thought patterns. They are looking for trouble, not just your stash. The key to successful drug use is to be discreet. IMO, there's nothing oppressive in having to do that. It just makes us more mindful of our actions. Not everyone should be fucked up all at once. I mean jeez, we're there to run around naked and play with fire.
It ain't the hanging, it's the drop.