In the last three months in Australia, there have been two adolescents who lost their lives relating drugs they consumed. Telling the story on the teenage deaths was an ABC show in Australia called The 7:30 Report which began to discuss how although most venues try to prevent drugs from entering their premises, drug overdoses and related deaths continue to strike the youth at dance parties and music festivals. They opened their report with a scenes of last week’s A State Of Trance event and how one nineteen year old was carried out to the hospital and died later from a suspected drug overdose. Three months earlier, a girl passed away while attending Harbourlife Festival in Sydney dropped after friends told the police that she had only taken “one and a half pills”. In the wake of these deaths, what are the options to eliminate the possibilities of more teenagers losing their lives when going out to have a good time?
The segment included two medical experts, a prominent DJ and producer from the 90s, a festival attendee, and a drug squad commander who each gave their thoughts on the drug culture in Australia and the club, festivals, and dance parties scene.
Currently, the major method contributing to the confiscation of drugs from most venues is through sniffer dogs. Although most of the time these canines are able to indicate which individuals are bringing drugs to music festivals, it may not be enough to stop all the drugs from coming in. However, some people argue that there is a better way to combat the numbers of people taking drugs and dying which doesn’t include utilizing drug hounds.
One Dr. Alex Wodak mentions that drug dogs are not enough to face the issue properly. He says, “They’re not a deterrent. We know that because the use of drug dogs in NSW has been increasing, and while it’s been increasing, the proportion of young people carrying drugs has actually gone up.”
Another Dr. David Caldicott deals with and examines drugs that pass through emergency rooms in hospitals. In his occupation, he works with and uses machines and technology that test for the components in drugs which he believes would fit well for festivals. Rather than have a one hundred percent no drug tolerance at these festivals, festival goers thinking of taking drugs could have them tested to make sure they’re safe. Instead of falling prey to the possibly fatal results of taking Molly, they can find out if the drugs they are about to take are indeed Molly or some synthetic variant.
Although most countries have very strict laws on drugs and may not be open to allowing a system for testing these illicit substances, it’s an issue that requires reexamination. People will continue to die from overdosing, but at least trying these progressive methods will do more to save lives than the current situation.