In last two years we started hearing about festivals, in UK mostly, where attendees can test their drugs. Now, this is much when you consider the amount of news about drug poisoning and the substances that can be found in ecstasy such as cement, rat poison etc.
According to Mixmag, figures have shown more than 8000 people had drugs tested anonymously this year at UK festivals, and were subsequently given results about purity levels, any contamination, and drug safety advice.
Groups like the Loop and DanceSafe test drugs like Ecstasy and warn users of high dosages and adulterants, but federal legislation from the early 2000s has live music promoters wary of their brand of harm reduction, but it seems not many festival and party promoters are interested to collaborate.
Bestival, Boomtown, Love Saves the Day, Y-Not Festival, Boardmasters, Kendal Calling, MADE.Festival were the seven festivals offering “front of house” drug testing available to all attendees. Behind the scenes testing also took place at Parklife, Truck Festival, South West Four, Lost Village and Mistress Mary.
Guy Jones, senior chemist for The Loop, said: “About half [of people having drugs checked] say that they will take smaller quantities after speaking to our healthcare professionals about strength and dosage.”
A recent study led by Canadian researchers from British Columbia and the University of Victoria found that 75 percent of all non-trauma festival deaths from 1999 to 2014 were drug-related. Citing the risk of overdose deaths, a 2015 report by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse concluded that festival organizers should make onsite drug testing more widely available.
What’s stopping promoters and venues from creating a safer environment to prevent future deaths?
So, should testing drugs be something you can do at every rave and festival?