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Fear of police reportedly prevents festival goers from seeking help in drug-related emergencies


Matt Knofs, director general of the Knobs Foundation’s Drug and Alcohol Treatment Service for Youth, said the survey results “did not cause much shock” and would be similar for young people who use drugs elsewhere, such as at parties or on public transportation.


However, Nofs, who participated in the ACT trial on tablets at music festivals and advocates for such programs, said police at festivals could be used to encourage safer drug use.

“When we tested the pill test at ACT, the kids approached the police and asked them where the pill test was,” he said.

“In New Wales, where you have drug dogs and a generally more aggressive stance towards children who use drugs, you will certainly have children who do not trust the police, and that is not what we want.”

Nofs said the study found that NSW needed to continue to reconsider the role of police in responding to drug use, noting that while recent reforms have helped reduce harm, now is the time to reconsider the debate on other harm reduction measures such as pill testing.


“Drug use is a health problem, and this report shows that treating it as a criminal problem has negative consequences,” said Greg Chip, head of the Drug Policy Australia advocacy group, adding that measures such as a significant police presence were accidental. searches and checkpoints. at music festivals created “distrust” of law enforcement agencies.

“This poll is about one-day festivals, but I expect there will be even more concern about the report of an overdose at, say, a three-day festival where their campsite may be searched,” he said.

NSW police were contacted for comment.

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