Obviously, you are not allowed to take drugs, because they are illegal. Obviously, you are not allowed to sneak them into a music festival, because they are illegal. Obviously you are not allowed to do illegal things because they are illegal. However, as anybody who has ever been to a music festival can attest – there’s a very large chunk of people in this world who like to do things that are illegal.
The only thing is, because you can’t buy drugs in Sainsbury’s, it’s all unregulated. That little bag of cocaine you just bought might actually be washing powder, or something even worse – at least washing powder smells nice. Not knowing what you’ve got in your mystery package is what leads people into danger – is there something dodgy in there? Is it ultra strong? It’s potentially life-saving knowing exactly what you’ve got in your hands.
That’s why The Loop – a drug-testing organisation – is teaming up with Festival Republic, who organise Reading/Leeds, V Festival, Wireless and a load more, to offer on-site drug testing facilities.
What this entails is taking a little bit of your vice into a special tent, and then waiting while they test it for purity, before destroying the sample. Then they’ll let you know what’s in it (hint: it was washing powder again). You won’t get in trouble, either.
Melvin Benn, head of Festival Republic, says:
“We talked about it during the summer of last year and the reality is that I took a decision that unless and until the NPCC supported the principle of it, it was difficult for us to move forward on it.
“We’ll see it this year for definite… at Leeds I’m pretty certain.
“It’s taken a long time and it won’t be at every festival, but where we think there is a need to do it we will be doing it.”
But does this encourage drug use? Well, that’s why it’s taken so long to get up and running – a lot of police forces think it does. West Yorkshire police’s assistant chief constable, Andy Battle, says:
“We can never condone the use of illegal drugs, but we recognise that some people will continue to take them and we need to adapt our approach in the interests of public safety.
“Consuming controlled drugs is inherently dangerous and the tragic consequences of this have been illustrated with drugs-related deaths at the event in recent years.
“We will continue to work closely with the onsite security team to target the possession and supply of controlled drugs and the criminal law will be applied appropriately as necessary.”
So it’s not accepting drug-taking as legal – it’s just minimising harm. People are going to do it anyway, regardless of the law, so it’s probably a good idea to help them not die, no?
If the scheme works, then there’s hope they’ll spread it out all over the UK, including at nightclubs and bars in city centres. And your bedroom – that black market extra strength viagra you bought off the dark web is probably Fisherman’s Friend, mate.