The UK’s government has been urged to help facilitate drug safety testing at festivals and events this summer to prevent drug-related deaths.
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) department has created a new committee that has called for the government to introduce drug testing services at music events. This comes after evidence showing there have been 14 drug-related deaths at music festivals since 2017.
A spokesperson for DCMS put out a statement saying: “The government should introduce a dedicated licensing scheme for drug checking to set a clear legal framework and minimum standards that service providers must meet.”
In 2018 the UK government said that it “would not stand in the way” of drug testing at festivals, clubs or other music venues, but since then, only a small number of events have started providing such checks.
Two people died of drug-related deaths in 2018 at Hampshire’s Mutiny Festival as a result of taking high-strength MDMA, and another 15 people were hospitalised. Georgia Jones was 18 years old, and was one of the two who died at the festival.
Georgia Jones mother, Janine Milburn, told The Guardian: “I honestly believe that if Georgia had been able to test her substance and given some advice on how to remain safe, she might have come home alive that day. I think if people are given truthful drug education – with testing encouraged and facilitated not just at festivals – then drug-related deaths would be significantly lower.”
The Loop is currently the main provider of drug testing services at events including festivals and club nights, but DCMS want similar services to expand or more new ones to launch. Evidence points to these services helping save lives and help save young people from dangerous situations.
The DCMS committee tweeted on May 29 about the Future Of Festivals Inquiry: “The government should clarify the legal position of drug testing services.”
We’re concerned about the increased risk of drug-related harm at events this summer, so we’re calling for greater clarity from Government about drug-checking services. #FutureOfFestivalsInquiry @julianknight15 pic.twitter.com/yPegxEFIhU
— Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (@CommonsDCMS) May 29, 2021