The summer time has returned and with it the British festival season heralding a recent surge in research into ‘party’ drugs. The investigations have asked how festivals can prevent entrance of these drugs into the grounds and how to stop festival goers taking them. The clear answer? Anonymous drug testing tents at festivals. Students all have a story of our own, or we’ve heard about a friend of a friend taking drugs with disastrous results. Essentially, we all have a connection with some unfortunate drug-taking story.
There is little doubt the reality is that the combat between the synthesis and production of these drugs and the law has become an arms race. The more laws are made and enforced only encourages unregulated laboratories to make ‘legal highs’.
Two people died at the Mutiny Festival 2018 in Portsmouth after they were suspected to have taken super-strength ‘Green Heineken’ ecstasy pills. Sadly, these are not the first to have died at festivals due to drugs. Recent surveys have found that drug usage is on the rise, MDMA in particular, within the last year. With both these in mind, it can be seen by anyone that the current approach of education and enforcement of laws concerning drugs are not efficient enough and another approach is needed. As one recent article suggested in it’s title, ‘Party drugs are here to stay, but they don’t have to be killers’. One festival which has taken this literally is Boomtown. Boomtown festival set up a drug testing marquee where anyone was able to anonymously visit, drop off a sample of their drugs in order to find out exactly what it was and its potency by having a short talk with a professional drugs counsellor.
In no way am I encouraging taking drugs if they can be tested, I still think it can be a road with an unseen end, but I think this it currently one of the best approaches to reducing the number of incidents with drugs. As previously mentioned, these drugs have been illegal for years and they still have a huge presence in our society, proving they are here to stay, but they do not have to be killers. There are more deaths from drugs when people take them without knowing exactly what it is, and how much to take. Therefore, these testing tents draw vital attention to the question whether the government, as well as having a duty to try and stop drug usage, has a duty to try and keep drug-taking safe.