The Secret Garden Party in Cambridgeshire has become the first festival in the UK to allow patrons to test their drugs on-site.
The initiative was lead by The Loop, a charity organization that focuses on providing information, outreach, interventions and research regarding issues of alcohol, drugs, sexual health, mental health, crime and violence. Both council and local police backed the project at the festival.
According to The Guardian, about 200 people took part in the services provided, which also included 10 minutes of health and safety advice for those partaking in drug use.
Fiona Measham, who co-founded The Loop, believes this was a major positive step in the right direction for educating people at festivals.
“For the first time we’ve been able to offer the testing service to individual users as part of a tailored advice and information package provided by a team of experienced drugs workers," said Measham.
She went on to say: "This can help people make informed choices, raising awareness of particularly dangerous substances in circulation and reducing the chance of drug-related problems occurring.”
Steve Rolles, of the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, echoed Measham's sentiment saying that he hopes other festivals follow suit, adding it would be "negligent for them not to".
“Around a quarter of people who brought in their drugs then asked us to dispose of them when they discovered that they had been mis-sold or were duds," said Rolles. "We were taking dangerous substances out of circulation.”
Last summer, Evolve Festival in Canada provided drug testing kits for attendees and we seem to be seeing a positive impact when these services are provided.
[H/T: the Guardian]