Sadly, the Australian summer just gone has once again seen as increase in deaths and hospitalizations associated with drug use at music festivals. As of January 2019 the state of New South Wales (NSW) coroner’s office announced it would investigate five recent deaths at music festivals. For the past decade deaths and overdose hospitalizations following ingestion of MDMA, ecstasy or other party drugs at music festivals has prompted debate about whether pill testing services should be made available at such events.
The prevalence of drug usage at many music festivals is not a secret, but how should we care for those who choose to take them? Recent drug-related deaths at music festivals around the world have sparked a call to action. But instead of banning drugs altogether, one Australian doctor suggests drug testing to promote safer usage among festival-goers. The process would involve festival attendees visiting an on-site laboratory to submit a sample of the drug they plan on taking. Workers would take 20-45 minutes to test the ingredients in the drugs and then pass along the information to the customer. Those who choose to take drugs will then know exactly what they are putting into their bodies. Similar testing techniques are already being implemented at select music festivals in parts of Europe and North America.