An anonymous drug testing pilot run by HSE (Health Service Executive) will roll out at the Electric Picnic music festival in Stradbally, Ireland. The monitoring program is part of the Irish Government’s “Safer Nightlife” campaign and will mark the first time illegal drugs will be tested outside authorized facilities.
In this drug testing landmark, festival goers can test their illegal substances for potency and contamination by placing them in surrender bins. Anyone who suffers an “adverse side-effect” after taking drugs or wants to test their substances can put them in the bins anonymously.
The testing scheme will deliver real-time information to the public on what substances are in circulation and their strength.
Health officials will warn festival goers if any potentially dangerous drugs are in circulation at the music fest.
Prof Eamon Kennan, HSE’s national clinical lead for addiction services, told BBC that the bins’ content goes to the on-site lab.
If something troublesome arises from the testing – such as high MDMA quantities or contamination with other drugs – a picture of that drug will circulate on social media.
“Our message is really, really clear that it’s safer not to take drugs at all. Drugs remain illegal and that’s the Guards’ position as well so if you’re caught in possession of drugs at a festival by An Garda Síochána you will face prosecution.”
HSE’s “pragmatic approach” is part of efforts to spot emerging drug trends and reduce drug-related harm in Ireland. However, this scheme will not allow attendees to get their drugs back with face-to-face advice, a common practice at charities like The Loop.
Electric Picnic festival will return to Stradbally Hall on the 2nd of September with a three-day event. Sought-after artists such as Arctic Monkeys, Tame Impala and Dermot Kennedy will rock the stages at the now sold-out event.