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News September 17, 2018

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian wants to shut down Defqon.1 and the push for pill-testing

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian wants to shut down Defqon.1 and the push for pill-testing

Tragedy struck the EDM realm at the weekend when two people were confirmed dead following suspected overdoses. Both had just attended Sydney dance festival Defqon.1 on Saturday.

When news broke of the tragedy on Saturday, police reported that a further thirteen attendees were currently receiving treatment for drug-related issues, while over 700 punters reportedly sought help from medical personnel at Defqon.1.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has now vowed to shut the entire Defqon.1 festival down.

“I never want to see this event held in Sydney or New South Wales ever again — we will do everything we can to shut this down,” she explained in a press conference.

“I understand there were some deaths in the past, but to have at least two on one night when every assurance was given to those attending that it was a safe event,” she continued. “Clearly it wasn’t when so many people have succumbed.”

Premier Gladys Berejiklian firmly stated that pill-testing is not the answer to the issue of drug use at festivals.

“Anyone who advocates pill-testing is giving the green light to drugs. There is no such thing as a safe drug and unfortunately when young people think there is, it has tragic consequences.

“I’m absolutely aghast at what’s occurred [and] I don’t want any family to have to go through the tragedy that some families are waking up to this morning — it’s just horrible to think about.”

Watch NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian address media below:

For years now, there has been a push to introduce pill testing at festivals with a hope to reduce unexpected side effects such as overdoses and death.

Multiple international festivals introduced pill-testing in 2017, with trials in the UK providing evidence that pill testing reduces harm at festivals.

pill testing kit at music festival

Pill-testing kit

In Australia, Greens MP David Shoebridge has called for festivals to introduce pill testing and amnesty bins. “We can’t keep repeating past mistakes,” he told AAP.

“What we need is the sensible application of police discretion rather than having drug dogs at the front of music festivals scaring often inexperienced drug users into having panicked ingestions,” he said. “What we should be doing is having the police cooperating with festival organisers and having pill testing and we could be saving people’s lives.”

Saturday afternoon saw the 2018 edition of the dance music festival Defqon.1 take place at the Sydney International Regatta Centre in Penrith with 30,000 revellers in attendance.

A spokesperson for Defqon.1 said they are working with authorities:

“Festival organisers are working closely and cooperating with the authorities regarding the fatalities and the number of medical presentations made during the evening, a full investigation is currently underway.

“As this is a matter with the NSW Police and the coroner and out of respect for the families and friends, we are not going to speculate on the cause of death.”

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.


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