Experts recommend pilot program to test drugs at music festivals – News


According to a new report, released by the National Social Inclusion Office of the Health and Safety Executive, the government should set up a pilot program to test drugs at music festivals.

The report suggests a limited testing operation at festivals, dubbed anonymous “home” drug testing, in which tests are carried out on drugs placed in amnesty bins or during security seizures, without direct contact with the drug. the users.

These are distinct from “front-of-home” drug testing systems, where users voluntarily take their drugs for testing.

If the pilot evaluation of a hosting system is positive, then this can support the development of a comprehensive hosting approach for festival contexts.

An intake strategy has been shown to engage hard-to-reach people with health services, including people who would not have had any previous intervention for their substance use.

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The HSE prepared two proposals to pilot Ireland’s first front-of-house testing initiatives at two festivals in 2019, according to the report, however, these ideas “could not go forward due to legal issues. “.

The backroom idea, he added, would require less formal policy changes and had been discussed with the Justice Department.

According to the document, this method could provide an anonymous and safe depository site, with health experts on hand to provide information and assistance.

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The report, the results of which are based in Ireland, identified music festivals as a “risky environment” where revelers are likely to experiment with illegal drugs.

He said the “increased purity and potency” of the products, especially high strength MDMA, was a cause for concern.

He also noted an increase in other drugs, including ketamine, as well as 2-CB and GHB, and expressed concern about a culture of polydrugs involving the use of many substances simultaneously.

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According to the newspaper, a subsequent HSE study of Irish festivals in 2021 found that 94% of those surveyed had taken drugs at a festival and more than a quarter fell ill as a result of their use. . It revealed a high level of willingness among people to engage in drug control services.

The report concludes: “The working group concludes that drug control is a beneficial prevention and harm reduction measure that should be seen as an extension of current health structures. A pilot project is recommended as part of a festival initially through a “back of house” approach.

He added: “If the pilot evaluation of a back-of-house system proves positive, a comprehensive front-of-house approach should be considered. “

Aneesa Ahmed is Mixmag’s digital intern, follow her on Twitter

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