Deceptions of Pill Testing at Music Festivals

Music festival

Summer is just around the corner and with the warmer weather young people will gravitate to music festivals around the country.

What is a concern for family and friends of those young people is that these gatherings also draw enterprising drug dealers.

An Australian study found that at a recent major festival almost 75 percent of patrons interviewed reported using illicit drugs.

Of those interviewed almost 60 percent named MDMA (aka ecstasy) as their preferred party drug.

That’s because MDMA induces feelings of empathy and turns everyone into a brilliant dancer.  But there is a downside, ecstasy turns nasty promising to ‘love you one minute’ and tries to ‘kill you the next’.

There are huge concerns that the wider community and especially Australian young people are being badly manipulated and deliberately misled by pill testing advocates.

Shane Varcoe is the Executive Director of the Dalgarno Institute, a coalition of alcohol and drug educators dealing with the social and cultural impact of drugs and alcohol.  He spoke with Neil Johnson on Vision Christian Radio’s 20Twenty program about this dangerous and deceptive trend.

“The difficulty with this particular issue is whether the evidence and science is looking at the best practice for reducing harms of drug taking, or more importantly do you want to completely eliminate the harm?  Then you’ve got to ask who is driving the agenda for pill testing and what is the real motivation behind it.”


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Shane continued to share about looking at the evidence of pill testing both in Australia and globally. “At the end of the day, the evidence is in that pill testing does zero as a protecting factor.”

There is a dangerous trend that people are now going to music festivals not for the music, but as a ‘safe’ place to take drugs.

“Some music festivals are very clear about their drug policy – whether or not it actually works on the ground [is another story].”

Since MDMA is being promoted as a substance to ‘enhance’ the festival experience, usage of this drug has become normalised and that you can’t have the full festival experience without it.

“No longer are we enjoying an entertainment venue with friends, we’re actually in an altered state that can also be quite dangerous.”

Now that drug usage has become a ‘normalised’ part of the festival experience, pill testing has been marketed as a way to make it ‘safe’.  However, since there isn’t any evidence that pill testing actually works, what is the real agenda at play?

Shane and Neil discuss the real agenda behind pill testing in the full interview below.

Tune into 20Twenty and join the conversation with Neil Johnson, weekdays on Vision Christian Radio. Click here for your local times.

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