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Pill Testing Urgently Needed after Tragic Death at Music Festival: Greens

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Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
13 February 2023

Following the tragic news of the death of a man from a drug overdose at Sydney’s Transmission Festival this weekend, Cate Faehrmann, Greens MP and drug law reform and harm reduction spokesperson is calling on the Government to urgently implement all recommendations of the Coronial Inquest into the six deaths at music festivals which reported more than three years ago.

“This is very sad news and my heart goes out to the family of this young man,” said Cate Faehrmann. 

“It is just so tragic to hear of another drug-related death at a music festival more than three years after the Coroner handed down her report into the six deaths at music festivals that occurred over the summer of 2018/19.

“It’s unacceptable that the government has sat on its hands and refused to implement the key recommendations from that inquiry, and heartbreaking that there’s been another potentially avoidable death.

“I’m calling on the Premier to implement all recommendations from the Inquiry into Music Festival Deaths including pill testing, banning sniffer dogs at music festivals and decriminalising drugs as a matter of urgency.

“The experts all agree that heavy-handed and punitive drug laws encourage unsafe behaviour like consuming too much at once to avoid detection, and consuming pills that may contain unknown, potentially deadly substances.

“I’m calling on all sides of politics to work together and listen to the expert evidence about how to save lives,” said Cate Faehrmann.

The Inquest into the death of six patrons of NSW music festivals reported in November 2019 and recommended that: 

  • The NSW Government allows pill testing services at festivals and establishes a permanent drug checking facility. 
  • That the NSW Police Force cease the use of drug dogs because they increase the risk of drug harms
  • That the NSW Police Force restrict the use of strip searches. 
  • That the NSW Government hold a drug summit and consider 
    • Decriminalising the personal use and possession of recreational drugs 
    • Expanded regulation of certain currently illicit drugs. 
    • Redefining illicit drug use as a health and social issue instead of a criminal one. 

The Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug ‘Ice’ reported in January 2020 and recommended: 

  • Decriminalise the personal use and possession of recreational drugs. 
  • That the NSW Police Force cease the use of drug detection dogs at music festivals. 
  • That the NSW Police Force limit the use of strip searches of people suspected of being in possession of prohibited drugs. 
  • That the NSW Government establish a state-wide clinically supervised substance testing, education and information service. 
profile image
Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
13 February 2023


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