An alarming number of drug-related hospitalisations have occurred over the Australia Day long weekend at festivals in both New South Wales and Victoria.

Seven are being treated in Westmead Hospital in Western Sydney after the ‘Rolling Loud’ hip-hop festival. The ‘Hardcore Till I Die’ festival also saw 10 people hospitalised. Six were hospitalised after ‘Rainbow Serpent’ festival in Victoria with one woman in a critical condition.

That brings the total hospitalisations for the weekend to over 20. When you consider the entire summer festival season the number has been alarming.

January 12’s ‘Fomo’ music festival saw 19 year old Alex-Ross King die of drug related causes. This event brought the issue of government funded festival pill testing back into the public debate, with harm minimisation advocates and abstinence advocates failing to find a compromise. In the meantime, young people are suffering life changing harm as drug pushers profit.

The factors at play are numerous and concerning. A push by the Greens and the taxpayer-funded broadcasters SBS and ABC towards introducing pill testing has been creating an atmosphere where it seems acceptable, normal and even inevitable for young people to take designer drugs from strangers. The reality is that the issue of why our youth have become obsessed with ingesting narcotics since the 1960’s is not addressed in any way by a softened approach to drug culture. The harsh summer heat and lack of meaningful outlets for young people are also significant factors.

The government and broader society are deemed by activist groups (and politicians, and drug manufacturers, and media outlets) to be at fault for not allowing the mindless ingestion of harmful chemicals. A hedonistic youth desperate to escape reality through the use of illicit narcotics, criminal drug pushers and teens looking to make a quick buck at the expense of their moral integrity and the lives and well-being of their peers are portrayed as the oppressed underdogs.

The author’s position is, it’s better to abstain entirely. If pill testing is to be introduced, it certainly should not be funded by taxpayers in any way. If you are a user, do your research and learn how to do the testing yourself. Don’t rely upon the notoriously sluggish government to move quickly. Don’t risk your life and the lives of those who care about you. Self-testing kits are available from headshops and online. Here’s a guide to self-testing you can do at home.


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