Pill Tests at Australian Festivals
Will Tregoning Executive director of the organization Unharm recently spoke to Dailymail about erecting stations to test drugs at music festivals in Australia.
Unharm is a grassroots organisation campaigning for safe, positive and ethical drug use. By having stations inside the festival area staffed by professional laboratory technicians visitors can safely test their drugs without the risk of being arrested by police, the visitors can get results wether the drug is what its suppose to be and not mixed with other stuff. They are also given the choice to dispose the drug if they choose too.
Secret Garden festival in the UK was the first festival to implement drug testing where it was reported that over 80 substances where tested on the first day and half only, from highly potent ecstasy pills to anti-malaria tablets sold as ketamine and ammonium sulphate as MDMA. 25 per cent of people who came to the station after testing their substances disposed of them. ‘A really key part of the service is to have a safe disposal bin,’ says Tregoning.
“Harm reduction and welfare is a vital part of hosting any event and it’s an area that for too long has seen little development or advancement,” Freddie Fellowes founder of Secret Garden Festival
There have been six deaths from drug overdoses at music festivals and events in the past years.
Tregoning said the “massive police presence as well as the use of sniffer dogs at festivals can result in revellers overdosing, as they take their drugs before the event, in the line, or carry them in body cavities in packages which can explode.” and therefore suggests that the police ditch the sniffer dogs.
Tregoning is in discussion with the Police in Australian Capital Territory saying ‘Police there are so accepting of the idea that harm minimisation is a guiding principle,’. while in other areas of Australia politicians are not willing to have the conversation.
Read the full story on Dailymail