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Drug-related hospital admissions down 95% after onsite testing at festival in Cambridgeshire
An alarming rise in drug-related deaths at music festivals can be countered by testing illicit substances onsite, according to the first academic study of its kind, which has triggered calls for similar services to be rolled out at all major events.

Testers found that one in five substances sold at the Secret Garden Party, a four-day festival in Cambridgeshire in July 2016, were not as described by dealers.

Samples contained ketamine instead of cocaine, while a drug sold as MDMA turned out to be n-ethylpentylone, a long-lasting cathinone that can cause anxiety, paranoia, insomnia and psychosis.
Others contained pharmaceuticals and cutting agents such as anti-malaria medication, as well as less harmful ingredients such as brown sugar and plaster of paris.

Chemists from the non-profit social enterprise The Loop analysed 247 drug samples brought in anonymously by festivalgoers. Two-thirds of people who discovered they had had substances missold to them subsequently handed over further substances to the police, according to the study.

The Durham University findings, published online on Sunday in the International Journal of Drug Policy, show dealers selling drugs at the festival were twice as likely to deceive customers as those selling offsite, which is something that experts said highlighted the added risks for festivalgoers.

In 2016, when the Multi Agency Safety Testing (MAST) pilot took place at the Secret Garden Party, UK drug-related deaths and festival drug-related deaths reached their highest on record. However, there was just one drug-related hospital admission at the Secret Garden Party, against 19 in the previous year, a 95% reduction.
“The service not only identifies and informs service users about the contents of their submitted sample and provides them with direct harm reduction advice but this pilot tells us they spread the information to their friends,” said Fiona Measham from Durham University’s Department of Sociology, and director of The Loop.

Voluntary drug-safety testing at festivals has been resisted by some major event organisers. But Measham said she hoped the study would go some way to proving its usefulness.

“As a cutting-edge, and some might consider controversial, service it is imperative that we evaluate the impact of the introduction of drug safety testing in the UK,” she said. “This paper is a first small step towards this.”
The research shows that warnings about specific dangerous substances identified by onsite chemists were quickly shared on social media, alerting festivalgoers across the country.

“Alerts are also shared on social media and via medical and other staff at the festival so the message can spread far and wide. We now have evidence that people who sell drugs at festivals are twice as likely to rip off the public and we can provide evidence-based alerts that not only warn people about specific drugs but also about specific drug markets.”

Critics argue that public drug-safety testing could normalise illegal drugs and encourage more people to take them. But Measham insisted that Loop staff told all who used its services that the safest way to take drugs was not to take them at all.

Laura Hunt, head of partnerships and operational support at Cambridgeshire constabulary, who acted as “silver command” at the Secret Garden Party, said harm reduction strategies were not a green light to substance abuse. “There is a zero tolerance to drug dealing within the event’s policing operation and more specifically within the harm reduction space. This meant that all partners had a clear understanding that no agency or organisation should encourage or condone the use of substances in any way.”

Hunt’s comments were echoed by Justin Bibby, a superintendent in Cumbria Constabulary, and “gold command” at the Kendal Calling festival, where MAST was also introduced in 2016. “When it comes to drugs, I do everything I can to prevent them getting into a festival, and our operations to target suppliers are focused, persistent and omnipresent,” Bibby said. “That said, there will always be some that get through the net. Likewise, there will always be individuals who despite our best efforts will continue to misuse substances.”

Freddie Fellowes, owner of the Secret Garden Party, said the results bolstered calls for drug testing to be made available at all major events. “The Secret Garden Party was incredibly proud to be a part of the first meaningful advance in over 20 years in harm reduction strategy, the results of which surpassed even our hope and expectations. In the future this facility should be required at all large events, not fought for.”
https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... OZz_KvJdxI

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Indlæg: 11 dec 2018 09:59 
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Tak for artiklen, den er hermed videresendt til roskilde festival.

Hvis andre har lyst, kan i sende en mail til jeres festival ala:

"Hej Roskilde Festival.

Jeg synes i skal genoverveje jeres politik overfor stoffer på festivalen. I ved de er der på trods af jeres stærke fokus på at folk skal træffe et anderledes valg.

Lige nu er det ikke svært at skaffe sådan ca. alle typer stoffer på jeres festival og med det følger der er et ansvar. For stofferne er ikke nødvendigvis hvad de bliver solgt som. I kan selvfølgelig fortsætte med at lukke øjnene og sige til folk at det er deres eget ansvar. Folk skal bare lade være med at indtage de her substanser. Men virkeligheden er en anden og der er mange der tager forkerte valg under deres alkoholrus.

Jeg synes i burde overveje at lære af andres erfaringer og istedet gribe det mere voksent an. Hvis i f.eks. valgte at lave et telt med fokus på skadesreduktion ville det være et stort skridt på vejen. De foldere i har nu er simpelthen ikke nok! Bl.a. fordi det ikke er alt information der er korrekt. Jeg mindes f.eks. at i skriver at MDMA er afhængighedsdannende. Når en person læser den slags, så mister de alt tiltroen til at forsøger at give korrekt information.

Istedet så foreslår jeg at i gør noget progressivt! Nemlig lade jer inspirere af denne her artikel:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... OZz_KvJdxI

Ifølge den var der 95 % færre stof-relaterede indlæggelser efter indførslen af stoftest. 2/3 af dem der fik testet deres stof og fik afvide det var noget andet, end de havde købt, valgte at kassere deres stof. Se det er tal der giver mening. Jeg har endnu til gode at se en smide et stof ud, pga. jeres folder eller tekstuelle kampagner.

Venlig Hilsen XX.

P.S. Jeg håber i kommer ind i kampen! "

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Det er slet ikke så unyttigt endda.»
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