London: In a first of its kind initiative, an independent music festival in Cambridgeshire is offering people the chance to have their illegal drugs tested and remove the potentially toxic substances from circulation.
The unique testing facility is organised by Loop, an organisation that conducts forensic testing of drugs at festivals and nightclubs and offers associated welfare support in collaboration with the local police and council. Over 200 individuals took advantage of it, reports The Guardian.
Freddie Fellowes, the founder of the festival said, he was more than delighted to be able to pioneer such kind of a service. “Harm reduction and welfare is a vital part of hosting any event and it’s an area that for too long has seen little development or advancement,” he said.
The festival goers were offered the tests as part of a 10-minute package of health and safety advice provided
Speaking about it, Fiona Measham, co-founder of the organisation, said, “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. This can help people make informed choices, raising awareness of particularly dangerous substances in circulation and reducing the chance of drug-related problems occurring.”
Over the first day and a half of the festival, which was expected to attract about 30,000 people, over 80 substances of concern were tested.
Very high-strength ecstasy pills were found to be in circulation, as well as multiple samples where contents had been misrepresented – including anti-malaria tablets sold as ketamine, and ammonium sulphate sold as MDMA.
While Rolles is hopeful that more festivals will “take the plunge” and offer the service next summer, he acknowledges that provision will also depend on the agreement of local police and councils.(ANI)