If you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, allow me to fill you in on this one. Over the past weekend, there were two tragic drug-related deaths at Defqon.1 festival, with three others attendees currently fighting for their lives in hospital after suspected overdoses.
The social media world has divided once again, splitting two opinions;
#1 Increase pill testing, and
#2 Cut Defqon.1 music festival all together.
On The Pill Testing And Drug Safety Hand..
Pill testing at festivals has shown somewhat success. First trialled at Groovin’ The Moo earlier this year in Canberra, 58% of people who had their drugs tested said they would take their drugs as planned, while 42% said they would reconsider and be less likely to take the drugs. Overall, 125 people had pills tested, and of the 83 usable drug samples tested, 42 had MDMA as their primary ingredient, while 17 contained fillers of cutting agents. Many news reports praise the pill-testing scheme, saying it could’ve saved many lives and averted overdoses.
Here’s what the general public have to say about drug testing post the deaths at DEFQON:
Dr. Lisa Pryor, Author Of A Little Book About Drugs
If you don’t like the idea of young people taking drugs you should LOVE pill testing: the evidence shows that a fair proportion of people who get their drugs tested decide not to take them after finding what’s in them. If only the attendees of Defqon had pill testing available… https://t.co/hDEhLNA6Qd
— Lisa Pryor (@pryorlisa) September 16, 2018
Dr. Pryor has a pretty good point here, GTM produced some pretty impressive results with pill testing reducing drug-related injuries and deaths. Although the tweet seems ironic at first, she’s not wrong.
Mehreen Faruqi, Australian Senator
This is utterly absurd. People always have and probably always will take drugs. If Premier Berejiklian wants to save lives, she should get out of the way and stop blocking pill testing at festivals. https://t.co/cxemwYuE73
— Mehreen Faruqi (@MehreenFaruqi) September 16, 2018
We like Mehreen, she talks some sense. Truth is, drug-taking at festivals is pretty much inevitable. It happens at pretty much every festival, so you’re going to be around it at one point in your life.
And boy, were the general public not impressed with how things currently stand.
Alex Wodak, Drug Law Reform Doctor
Governments that ignore comments of people like Adriana Buccianti especially after what she has been through are not just heartless but also cruel & stupid. The case for #pilltesting is overwhelming. Do it. Get over it https://t.co/g0zDNXn7je
— Alex Wodak (@AlexWodak) September 17, 2018
To give you some context, Mr. Wodak pioneered clean needle distribution at the birth of the AIDS crisis, saving MANY lives, both here and globally. We think he’s onto something here.
Paul Barratt, Former Secretary of Australian Departments of Defence and Primary Industries & Energy
Premier vows to ban festival after two deaths.
Ridiculous response. Is she going to close the pubs? Alcohol causes far more deaths. https://t.co/JvzhJEqxKi
— Paul Barratt (@phbarratt) September 16, 2018
On The Other Hand..
We have Premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian wanting to shut down the festival all together.
Two deaths after last night's Defqon.1 music festival prompted this fiery threat from Gladys Berejiklian to shut the event down permanently. https://t.co/UaHgRdZWVa pic.twitter.com/8HTrQfmp2i
— SBS News (@SBSNews) September 16, 2018
Allan Sicard of the NSW Police is concerned of the “image” they will portray in giving festival go-ers the “green light” in drug taking. Not that a red light has ever stopped us before?
Other than that, it’s bloody damn hard to find anyone else so vehemently against pill testing. So it’s safe to say there is a consensual positive opinion surrounding drug safety at festivals. At the end of the day, it’s up to the individual on whether or not they’ll take drugs at a festival. And the truth is, we may as well push to make it less risky for those who are getting on it.
It’s important to stay safe at festivals, and be sure to check out our advice before getting on it at your next festival, even if there aren’t pill testing facilities.
Image Source: Defqon.1 Facebook