CityHub: Calls for pill testing reignite after 8 overdose at music festival

The admission of eight individuals to the hospital due to MDMA overdoses at an electronic music festival in Melbourne has sparked renewed and pressing demands for nationwide pill-testing initiatives.

Of those affected at the festival, seven had to be placed in induced comas and required breathing tubes.

Victorian Health authorities have announced that the overdoses were not caused by a single bad batch, but instead the hot, humid conditions at the festival, paired with physical exertion. 

The hospitalisations have intensified the calls for increased pill testing, and for governments to address the complicated issue of festival drug use. 

Lydia Shelly, President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL), said “In light of the recent incidents in Victoria, we reiterate our call for the immediate implementation of pill testing in NSW.”

“Pill testing is a crucial harm reduction measure that can save lives and prevent tragic incidents like those witnessed in Melbourne.”

Ms Shelly is calling on the government to end the “punitive approach to policing” at music festivals and other venues.

“NSW Police search figures have shown an average drug dog detection success rate of just 25 per cent over the last decade, while deaths have been attributed to overdoses resulting from the fear of drug dog detection,” she said.

“We also hope that the government will consider even more significant steps in the longer term to address the complex issues surrounding drug use and festival safety,” she added.