Drug Testing System Introduced in Ireland for Summer Festivals

Drug Testing System Introduced in Ireland for Summer Festivals
Photograph Credit score: Samuel Regan-Asante

Eire’s Well being Service Govt introduced particulars of a drug testing and alert initiative at music festivals nationwide.

Eire’s Well being Service Govt (HSE) introduced the launch of its drug harm-reduction marketing campaign aimed toward music competition attendees throughout the nation. This initiative continues the work of the pilot mission launched final summer time and sees the HSE partnering with a small variety of festivals this 12 months to place in place “Safer Nightlife” hurt discount packages.

The marketing campaign consists of a number of parts, together with a drug monitoring program the place festivalgoers can anonymously submit medicine to specialists via voluntary “give up bins,” real-time social media alerts, media consciousness, and a social media marketing campaign.

“I’m delighted to see the HSE Safer Nightlife Programme progress and increase into its second 12 months. It is a wonderful instance of decreasing the harms of drug use via interagency work and fascinating carefully with individuals who could also be contemplating utilizing medicine,” says Hildegarde Naughton, Minister for Public Well being, Wellbeing, and the Nationwide Medication Technique. 

“This system was extremely profitable in 2022 and allowed us to spotlight notably harmful substances encountered in competition settings whereas additionally creating larger consciousness for individuals who use medicine as a part of the nighttime financial system.”

“The Programme for Authorities accommodates the dedication to extend drug monitoring at festivals, and hurt discount interventions, such because the Safer Nightlife Programme, can save folks’s lives,” Naughton continues. “I’ll proceed to work alongside colleagues within the HSE to see this invaluable initiative rolled out even additional within the months and years forward.”

“This method will enhance our drug monitoring capabilities and assist to tailor our harm-reduction providers in Eire,” provides Professor Eamon Keenan, Nationwide Scientific Lead for Dependancy Companies at HSE. “We will entry medicine in a protected, non-judgemental method to rapidly acquire perception on what medicine could also be in circulation and problem real-time drug alerts about substances of concern to competition attendees through our social media channels.”

“As proven on the first section carried out at Electrical Picnic final summer time, this method has the potential to establish tendencies in any other case unknown,” says Keenan. “The HSE discovered tendencies of concern together with high-potency medicine, twelve new psychoactive substances, and 4 medicine which had by no means been recognized earlier than in Eire.”

“In addition to high-strength medicine showing, as seen lately within the UK, we’re presently involved about the opportunity of new psychoactive substances being mis-sold as MDMA tablets or crystal, cocaine, and hashish,” he continues. “New medicine are persevering with to emerge, and we should concentrate on the dangers they pose, particularly the dangers of overdose and psychological well being issues.”

“Whereas the HSE acknowledges that it’s safer to not use medicine in any respect and there may be all the time danger, the marketing campaign has been developed in response to a altering drug panorama in Eire and goals to supply individuals who use medicine sensible harm-reduction info on how they’ll scale back well being harms in the event that they select to make use of,” he concludes.

Whereas regulation enforcement would, on the file, choose no unlawful medicine to be in circulation at festivals, some should acknowledge the sensibility of a practical method centered on hurt discount in nightlife areas the place drug use is usually excessive. The HSE and people operating such initiatives have to collaborate with police to make sure festivalgoers who present medicine for testing don’t face authorized penalties.

The HSE’s initiative supplies sensible recommendation for individuals who do take medicine at festivals, like letting your folks know in the event you determine to take medicine, “begin low and go gradual,” keep away from mixing medicine — together with alcohol and prescription medicines — and be trustworthy with medics as to what you may have taken do you have to change into bodily or mentally unwell.


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