ULTRA Music Festival Australia May Try Out Pill Testing
The ULTRA Music Festival Australia will host 20,000 people at a one day event.
And, at the suggestion of event organisers, could be running a pilot pill testing trial at the event in February.
Dave Rubin, the operator of Ultra Australia spoke with Music Feeds about the news.
“We want to enable patrons to make better decisions,” he said.
“We do not condone drug usage, but we must acknowledge that it is present in all forms of society not just music events. The zero-tolerance stance does not work. This approach is not currently successful despite working tirelessly with the police to keep drugs out of our events and we need to acknowledge this goes beyond policing and is a health issue."
“We also want our patrons to know they can seek help or medical assistance without fear of retribution. By offering them knowledge about what they are taking, and the risks, we believe being armed with the information will help them form a better opinion and hopefully make smarter choices."
“We will always work within the confines of the law, but the laws need to adapt to enable us to provide a safer environment.”
The NSW Users and AIDS Association (NUAA), which runs the DanceWize NSW program, is calling on the NSW Government to implement a trial.
Mary Ellen Harrod, CEO of NUAA said “DanceWize NSW has interacted with thousands of young party goers in a short period of time. The views of young people are clear – the moment you tell them ‘don’t take that pill kids’, they switch off. They want real-world, practical measures that demonstrate that policy makers put their lives before politics”
The DanceWize NSW team has been in operation since November 2017 and in that time we have helped hundreds of young people and done thousands of education sessions and saved lives at music festivals across the state. Pill testing is an additional measure that can be taken to support the health of young people but will only be effective in the context of peer support and education.
Dr. Harrod concluded “education is the key to keeping people safe. Pill testing is one measure that will support education and allow young people to pause and consider their options. At the moment, it’s legal to buy reagent testing kits but we don’t allow best practice pill testing, a situation that makes no sense. We know pill testing works from the successful Australian trial and years of overseas experience. There is almost universal agreement that we need to do more to keep young people safe and the Ultra festival is the perfect opportunity launch a trial of this measure in NSW.”
The ULTRA Music Festival Australia Ultra Australia will hit Melbourne and Sydney in February, featuring sets from the likes of The Chainsmokers, Marshmello and Martin Garrix.