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UK - Anti-drug campaigners slam plans to introduce drug testing tents at music festivals

By Emilita, May 22, 2017 | | |
  1. Emilita
    Anti-drugs campaigners have expressed dismay after the police backed plans to allow festival goers to test substances such as cocaine and ecstasy for purity before taking them.

    [​IMG]The service, which will be offered at a string of live music events this summer, including the Reading and Leeds festivals, is intended to identify potentially dangerous drugs, so that users can make an informed choice.

    Festival goers will be able to take illegal drugs to a testing tent, where analysts from an organisation called The Loop, identify the ingredients, before destroying the sample.

    The scheme is being rolled out in response to a number of deaths attributed to drugs amongst young people attending music festivals in recent years.

    [​IMG]Last year, 17-year-old Lewis Haunch died after taking drugs at Leeds Festival while in the same year two teenagers died at T In The Park in reportedly drug-related incidents.

    Police leaders have said while they cannot condone the use of illegal drugs, they recognise that many young people will take them anyway and it is better if they are informed about what they are taking.

    It is understood the National Police Chiefs' Council is working on guidelines which will encourage local forces to support similar schemes at festivals and nightclubs.

    [​IMG]But anti-drug charities have questioned the wisdom of such an approach and have said the police should not be condoning the taking of illegal and potentially deadly narcotics.

    David Raynes of the National Drug Prevention Alliance, said: "I do not think senior police officers have thought this through with the clarity that the public deserve.

    "This will simply normalise drug taking amongst the young and will reinforce the attitude that taking drugs is an integral part of the festival experience, which it is not.

    "Another problem is that drug testing services offer an illusion of safety. They tell drug users about purity, but purity is not a measure of safety, quite the opposite in some cases. Drugs are illegal because they are unsafe and that is the message that the police ought to be giving.

    "This also offers a helping hand to drug dealers by providing them with a testing service. They can get their supply checked before they go off and start pushing. That is something the police ought to be preventing not supporting."

    [​IMG]Assistant Chief Constable, Andy Battle, of the West Yorkshire force, who is in charge of policing at the Leeds Festival, said while officers would continue to target dealers, it was important they had a pragmatic approach when it came to festival goers taking drugs.

    He said: "We can never condone the use of illegal drugs, but we recognise that some people will continue to take them and we need to adapt our approach in the interests of public safety.

    "Consuming controlled drugs is inherently dangerous and the tragic consequences of this have been illustrated with drugs-related deaths at the event in recent years.

    "We will continue to work closely with the on-site security team to target the possession and supply of controlled drugs and the criminal law will be applied appropriately as necessary."

    [​IMG]But in 2013, when she was home secretary, Theresa May dismissed a proposal to pre-test drugs at a nightclub in Manchester, arguing that “if somebody has purchased something that the state has deemed illegal, it’s not then for the state to go and test it for you.”

    [​IMG]Commander Simon Bray of the National Police Chiefs' Council said before officially endorsing such schemes, they needed to understand the implications for policing and that is something which is currently being explored.

    He said: "Police forces are committed to reducing the harm caused by all drugs and urge people to remember that drugs are ‘controlled’ because they have been shown to be harmful."

    He added: "We could not support initiatives that do not comply with the law or that have unintended negative consequences.

    “Any proposal would need to be considered by the police force, local authority and health services with a view on it’s legal, scientific and possible health implications.”

    Original Source

    Written by: Martin Evans, May 23, 2017, Anti-drug campaigners slam plans to introduce drug testing tents at music festivals, The Telegraph

Recent User Reviews

  1. Alteratiion
    "Harm reduction is key"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jun 24, 2017
    When you have a large group of people with illegal substances, many of whom plan to do them regardless of testing such as this, it's very important to remember that harm reduction plays a key factor in combating the associated risks. No, it's not going to solve the problem; but it may make people think twice before indulging in a substance that could possibly be anything.


  1. TrippingFish66
    Anti drug people are so stupid
    1. Emilita
      I don't think anti-drug people are stupid, l think that the issue is a lack of education and desire to learn. Knowledge is power when it comes to drugs and if the individuals in anti drug organisations took the time to actually engage with drug users and broaden their narrow perception they could learn a lot and make a more logical and informed opinion.
      Lunaris Lynx and JaneGault like this.
  2. perro-salchicha614
    Another problem is that drug testing services offer an illusion of safety. They tell drug users about purity, but purity is not a measure of safety, quite the opposite in some cases.

    Wow, that has to be the most flawed, contorted logic I've seen in a long time...
      Emilita likes this.
    1. Emilita
      Their website states David Raynes is the Political Affairs Director, NDPA & Media Spokesman. Sometimes it makes me wonder how people get into these type of positions within an organisation.
      perro-salchicha614 likes this.
  3. chupamivergaguey
    Let's be honest -- after shelling out all that money for MDMA only to find out it's M1, are you really gonna flush it as a some kind of safety precaution someone has manufactured? I doubt drug testing at festivals saves too many lives, but it's a good thing because it erodes the criminal narrative of drug use, transforming it into a health narrative. It's the health narrative that is more likely to result in life-saving measures.
      perro-salchicha614 likes this.
  4. Theko
    David Raynes views on drugs are close minded, biased, and uneducated
      Lunaris Lynx likes this.
  5. Fallen Angel 747
    Would you prefer people to take completely untested to drugs festivals which have shown (unless in the event of overdose) it is the impurities that are causing the harm. If you knew what I did about the synthesis and cutting agents added to drugs not purporting to what they are supposed to be then I am sure you would draw the conclusion the police and government advisors have thought this through very carefully. Wait till you see as many drug related deaths (not all of them through illegal drugs but medication proscribed to the very person they were intended for) then you may rethink
  6. Fallen Angel 747
    To add to my below comment, drugs are and always have been inherent in cultures, during the industrial revolution life was so hard that people resorted to taking laudanum and opium and morphine to see them through the day. The anti drug patrols in Nicaragua chew coca leaves as they battle with cocaine production (irony apparent) The properties of Ecstacy have been explored and altered to give us one of the most popular antidepressants ... SSRI's or Selective Seretonon Reuptake Inhibitors...... Seretonin being the happy chemical responsible for the Euphoria in the hit you feel, Cocaine also inhibits Sereronin uptake but to a more drastic degree..... Heroin and other opiates stimulates your brain to produce more. CBD is proving to have many medicinal qualities, THC is showing promise as a cure for cancer and can be shown to kill cancer cells by causing them to 'commit suicide' ...... I am sure many benzodiazepines have improved people's life's drastically and also prevented many suicides. But anti drug campaigners only look at the bad points not thinking one day they may have cancer and find Diacetylmorphine (Heroin) will make their last days pass with ease. I only get annoyed at the selfish abusers (not the normal abusers which I consider to be a health issue) but the ones who have been warned they are on course for overdose and ignore the warning.... particularly as I am helping his family pick up the pieces of his sad and unfortunate death.
  7. TheBigBadWolf
    Fuck the bigotry of sobriety pros. Nobody forces them to do drugs.

    And yes, taking drugs is a normal part of festival experience since someone invented festivals.
    Drugs and music go along well with clean drugs.

    Countering drug testing means killing our kids. And that is that.
  8. Lunaris Lynx
    Oh! How sad it is to think that anyone would discourage an area where drugs that could potentially kill for any number of reasons should not be allowed to test, screen and possibly prevent someone from dying! If even just one life is saved the test tents could be called a success!

    And on the contrary David Raynes! I do indeed think that senior police officers have thought matters through with the clarity the public deserves. Difference being that not only have they thought things through in accordance with their standing as law officers - they thought farther! They thought it through like fathers and mothers, like siblings, like concerned citizens that really do not want to see anyone die unnecessarily when it could have been prevented.

    These senior officers thought it out like human beings rather than like some egotistical, control freak asshat!

    We all know that there will be drugs at the festivals. That it is impossible to confiscate them all, stop all from selling. With this in mind I just have to ask what type of person would prevent a means of harm reduction, likely even to save a life or two, from taking place?

    Raynes not only boasts an uneducated, outdated and backward approach to the situation, he comes off looking pretty damn inhuman as well.
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