HomeMedicalDrug testing pilot extended to all summer Irish festivals

Drug testing pilot extended to all summer Irish festivals

A drug testing pilot that first took place at Electric Picnic, a festival in the Republic of Ireland, will be extended to all summer festivals in the nation this year.

The program is being run by the Health Service Executive (HSE) Safer Nightlife program.

Electric Picnic, which first ran in 2004, piloted the drug testing scheme for the first time last year.

During the pilot, the HSE found 12 new psychoactive substances and four drugs which had never been identified.

The scheme works by having the attendees of the festival place their drugs into “surrender bins”.

Health officials will let the public know via social media and the event organisers if there are any particularly dangerous substances that have been found during the festival.

The Irish police service, An Garda Síochána, are supporting the plans

Speaking to the BBC, Professor Eamon Keenen, the HSE’s national clinical lead for addiction services stated, “We can access drugs in a safe, non-judgemental manner to quickly gain insight on what drugs may be in circulation and issue real time drug alerts about substances of concern to festival attendees via our social media channels.”

Drug testing during summer festivals has become more common with many UK festivals also offering a similar service.

With many of the substances remaining illegal in both the UK and Ireland, the consumers of the drug are unable to know what they are taking without such services posing a danger to those consuming illegal drugs.

Following Brexit and Covid-19 lockdowns, researchers at Cardiff University found that their tested samples of MDMA were more contaminated than the previous years.

One in five of the samples contained caffeine and another fifth contained synthetic cathinones which hadn’t appeared in the MDMA samples tested before 2019.

By providing drug testing facilities festivals can more protection to the consumer and keep an eye on the latest trends in illegal drug manufacturing.


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