There has been plenty of good work done by numerous groups involved with the first pill testing station at an Australian festival – taking place at the Canberra leg of Groovin The Moo this year – to make sure harm was prevented for festival goers, and now we have the evidence to show how it has helped.
This coming together for pill testing was ten years in the making and completely funded by the STA-SAFE consortium and a group of organisations (includes Harm Reduction Australia, DanceWize, Australian National University and more) pro-bono. The official report has been published following the vent, outlining how much potential it has to help users in and outside of drug use with systems looking to be installed such as welfare and health services for abuse of the drugs a long term goal.
Australia, being a country where a disposable income is easy to come by, it is said that 43% of all Australians having tried an illicit substance over the age of 14 according to a National Household Survey. It was stated in the article that “Twenty-seven percent of recent ecstasy users aged 18 years and over reported high or very high levels of psychological distress and 26% reported they had been diagnosed with or treated for a mental illness,” it is easy to see why steps need to brought in place to facilitate the experience, especially for younger people.
Harm Reduction Australia found many substances in the testing including the potentially deadly chemical N-Ethylpentylone which is “associated with fatalities and mass casualty events in other jurisdictions.” One user found it in what was thought to be Meth and advised the workers that they would use less of the drug and said they didn’t know of anyone else using the drug.
Interestingly, the fact that 55% said they had received it from friends and 28% from dealers and some saying they had found the drugs. Also stated in the article was , “Those aged over 20 years were slightly more likely to have sourced from a dealer (34% vs 22%) while younger patrons were more likely to say from friends (62% vs 50%).” Which may show how much of a deterrent the risk of bringing it into the festival is for patrons.
Hopefully with more drug tests happening in the future where drug dogs are becoming more imposing, this can identify how much sniffer dogs really effect the in flow of drugs into festivals, help people remove the stigma of getting their pills looked at and provide information on both sides as to how to go about pills being brought into festivals.
You can check out the full link here