UK festivals should let people test their drugs before taking them, say health experts

Several festivals including Reading and Leeds are already planning to introduce drug-testing tents.

Health experts want the UK’s leading music festivals want to allow revellers to test their drugs before they take them.

Following a successful trial at last year’s Secret Garden Party, a number of UK festivals including Reading and Leeds are hoping to introduce drug-testing in 2017. If approved, the drug-testing tents will be run by The Loop, an organisation which specialises in forensic testing of drugs that are seized at UK festivals and nightclubs.

Now the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has said that drug-testing tents should become “standard” at festivals in order to protect

“While the use of stimulant ‘club drugs’ such as ecstasy can never be safe, and RSPH supports ongoing efforts to prevent them entering entertainment venues, we accept that a certain level of use remains inevitable in such settings,” the RSPH’s chief executive Shirley Cramer said in a statement.

“We therefore believe that a pragmatic, harm reduction response is necessary,” she continued. “The pilots carried out by The Loop last summer suggest providing drug safety testing facilities to festival-goers and night-clubbers is a promising part of the equation in preventing these deaths, both by exposing and reducing the circulation of super strength or adulterated pills, and by providing an opportunity to impart practical harm reduction advice to an audience who would not normally engage with drug services.”

She added: “We urge events companies to make these facilities a standard part of the UK festival and clubbing landscape, and we urge both local and national police and public health authorities to provide the support that will enable this.”

Read: What’s behind a recent spate of drug deaths? NME investigates

Last year there were a number of drug-related deaths at UK festivals including three at Scotland’s T in the Park, which is not taking place this year.