Party safely this summer

(To be released the 30th of November 2021)

Joseph Pham, 21 years old,

Diana Nguyen 21 years old,

Callum Brosnan 19 years old,

And Josh tam 22 years old.

You may be asking yourself what do the names of these young people mean to me? Well, these are just a small number of the most recent fatalities in 2019 to be exact.  that occurred at music festivals here on Australian soil.

According to court evidence the young people that tragically passed away all had consumed untested pills at musical festivals such as Defqon.1 and the lost paradise.

Some of this activity involved a mix of drugs and alcohol products and some can be directly related to the consumption of an unsafe pill.

All of these deaths could have been prevented with Safe partying which includes, pill testing.

For the Australian government and festival organisers Australia-wide festival related deaths came to a halt thankfully however, this was not due to action taken.

Coronavirus caused a nationwide shutdown for the live music industry this was one of the sectors thar received the hardest blow. This should have been the time in which the government took responsibility, it should have been the time for medical and safety related services to be analysed and amended.

The Australian live and pre-recorded music industry is valued at 1.1 billion dollars in 2020 despite the two-year shutdown. As the industry begins Its recovery this value is expected to climb up to 2.2 billion dollars by the year 2025. In fact, the Australian music scene itself saw an 8.3% growth in consumer related revenue during the pandemic.

In current times Australian music festival providers are putting more of a focus into ‘home grown’ festivals in which local major acts are being given the spotlight while there are still hopes for international acts to return (PWC, 2021).

However, summer 2021-2022 is rapidly approaching which to youngsters is often referred to as festival season. Thanks to corona virus consumers are more eager than ever to dive straight into the festival scene (Sumampow & Parker, 2021).

This means enormous crowds of people who have been so heavily restricted and prohibited from partying and festivals. Who may not know how to party safely this summer. In 2021-2022 summer alone, there is expected to be around 30 music festivals, to name some of the largest these include:

Splendour in the grass that sees an annual attendance of 42 thousand people.

Ultra-Australia with 40 thousand attendees.

Lost paradise with 2000 partygoers

And grooving the moo with over 20 thousand attendees (Jones, n.d.).

Therefore, we here at the network of alcohol and other drug agencies (NADA) are urging the Australian government to implement pill testing facilities at these festivals this summer.

Pill testing is essentially the service of checking the content of an illicit substance and providing information about the outcome of taking said substance. Because recreational drugs are not a regulated drug they are often contaminated with items that can poison and the people who consume them are unaware of this.

Canberra’s grooving the moo was the first festival to test pill testing in which those who operated the tent did so with complete transparency. This meant festival goers were aware that no matter what the drug was still dangerous, but they now knew what it was made up of.

Pill testing does not provide information on whether a drug is pure, what the safe dosage is, or how the person would react. It does, however, help people party safely.

In the UK, their version of pill testing led to the conclusion that one in five of the substances tested was not what the person believed it to be and two thirds of them actually had them destroyed.

In order to reduce the harm of drug consumption it needs to be treated as a health-related issue, not one that is to be judged, and not one that can lead to death so early in a person’s life.

We here at NADA understand that just encouraging young people not to take drugs does not work.

Pill testing is an early prevention method that has seen results (Willis, 2018).

NADA urgers Pill testing to be implemented this summer at Australian music festivals before it is too late.

We want to Party safely this summer.

References

Jones. (n.d.). 30 MUSIC FESTIVALS IN AUSTRALIA TO EXPERIENCE BEFORE YOU DIE. https://www.jonesaroundtheworld.com/30-music-festivals-in-australia-to-experience-before-you-die/

McGowan, M. (2019). Drug deaths at music festivals: one overdose victim ‘took up to nine MDMA pills’. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jan/22/drug-deaths-at-music-festivals-one-overdose-victim-took-up-to-nine-mdma-pills

PWC. (2021). Music outlook 2021. https://www.pwc.com.au/industry/entertainment-and-media-trends-analysis/outlook/music.html

Sumampow, G. C., & Parker, T. (2021). After a year deprived of music festivals, the show finally can, and will, go on. Are you ready? //beat.com.au/a-comprehensive-list-of-australian-music-festivals-to-look-forward-to-in-2021/

Willis, O. (2018). Does pill testing work and what’s the evidence that it makes things safer? https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2018-12-21/guide-to-pill-testing-at-australian-music-festivals/10638732