Leadership / 01.04.19
Music Festivals Are Offering to Test the Safety of People's Drugs, and Police Increasingly Like the Idea
Washington Post (01/04/19) Noack, Rick
Drug screening at music festivals is gaining favor in Australia and New Zealand, where authorities have so far permitted only limited trials. Opponents say such policies could encourage young people to take more drugs, while on-site screenings have drawn criticism as inaccurate, given the sometimes limited availability of equipment. Backers of the tests claim their approach is much more effective than focusing on arrests. An argument summary supporting tests by Australia's parliamentary library determined that pill testing “has been shown to change the black market” for the better and may even decrease overall drug consumption, as “negative results would deter a majority of people from consuming drugs and spur them to warn their friends.” Police officers are not directly involved in tests, but authorities typically erect “tolerance areas” around testing facilities, and consumers will not be detained for drug use; volunteers use lab equipment to examine the substances under infrared light. A 2018 U.K. study found 20 percent of all drugs sold at a randomly chosen 2016 festival had substances other than the ones dealers had declared. Anonymous disclosure of those findings to affected festival-goers encouraged over 66 percent to turn in other substances in their possession. Drug-related hospital admissions in 2018 also declined 95 percent year over year, which researchers said was largely associated with an on-site drug testing trial.
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Tags: Security , News