The covert drug testers, operating with the festival’s knowledge, found more than half the drugs punters brought in weren’t what they thought they were.
Now more festivals – including Wellington’s Homegrown – are considering drug testing tents, but face bucking up against the law.
Over the course of the festival, Allison’s teams tested 63 samples. Of those, 57 percent were not what the festival-goers thought they had.
“A lot of people who said ‘I know this is MDMA, I tried it’ – I showed them the charts and they were astounded.
“Just under half of the people who had samples that weren’t what they thought told us they weren’t going to take it.”
Of 22 samples taken of LSD, only six were real. A further six tested positive for N-Bom, a drug implicated in a number of deaths overseas.
Emergency medicine specialist and clinical toxicologist Dr Paul Quigley said allowing drug testing at festivals would make hospitals’ jobs easier.
He argued legalising drug testing could both reduce hospital transfers, and provide more information for police about what dangerous drugs were being sold on the streets.
“You have to quite frankly be an idiot if you think that people aren’t going to take drugs at these festivals… Instead of prohibition at least acknowledge it’s happening and let’s make it safer.”
I agree with Paul Quigley (who I also went to university with!). It is naive to think people don’t have drugs at music festivals, and if testing can reduce harm, lets do it.