Harm reduction services at festivals should include drug-safety testing – Senator Fintan Warfield
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Youth Affairs, the Arts and LGBT rights, Senator Fintan Warfield has today commended the Ana Liffey Drug Project and Electric Picnic who will facilitate a harm-reduction service at Stradbally this weekend.
Senator Warfield said;
“The provision of educational materials on drugs and alcohol, as well as one-to-one advice and referrals are an important part of a health-led response to drug and alcohol use - but we can do more.
“Harm-reduction services at festivals should be allowed to include confidential drug safety testing facilities for festival goers who consider using drugs.
“Sinn Féin believe that the success of harm-reduction initiatives abroad that offer confidential drug safety testing at music festivals confirm the need for similar initiatives at Irish music festivals.
“Such services test drug purity and inform festival goers of the contents of a sample provided, with that sample subsequently destroyed.
“We cannot ignore the inevitability that drugs will be used by a percentage of people attending festivals, and that no amount of education and advice can inform a person of what constitutes a safe dose of an illicit or unknown drug.
“Incidences of ‘bad batches’ have resulted in overdoses, health emergencies and deaths of festival attendees in previous years.
“This is a sensible, pro-active measure which does not encourage drug talking but responds to the realities of life - and could save a persons life.
"It is the job of those who make policy to work together to reduce the potential for harm.
“Upon the return of the Seanad, I will be raising the issue with the Department of Justice as well as Minister Catherine Byrne who has responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy”.