Secret Garden Party has become the first UK festival to offer a unique drug testing service – offering festival-goers the chance to check what’s in their illegal substances before taking them.
The service, offered by drug-testing organisation The Loop in conjunction with Cambridgeshire police and council, was used by 200 people during the course of the festival.
Previously The Loop have worked to test drugs ceased by police or left in amnesty bins but this is the first time they have dealt directly with festival goers, helping them make informed choices before getting high.
Speaking from the festival site on Sunday morning, Steve Rolles, senior policy analyst for Transform Drug Policy Foundation which helped to agree the scheme with local authorities was pleased with the amount of festival-goers handing over their drugs as a result of testing.
“Around a quarter of people who brought in their drugs then asked us to dispose of them when they discovered that they had been mis-sold or were duds. We were taking dangerous substances out of circulation,” he told The Guardian.
The Loop have previously worked to advise young people on safe consumption of drugs. Fiona Measham, co-Director of The Loop and Director of its drug testing programme said: “My research shows that MDMA crystal remains the most popular party drug amongst festival goers and clubbers but purity and contents can vary considerably in illegal markets. When purity increases it takes a while for behaviours to readjust and we often see more problems. We want to keep people safe and advice as simple as ‘crush-dab-wait’ could save lives”.
Secret Garden Party took place from Fri 22 – Sun 24 July in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire and featured a lineup that included Caribou, DJ Shadow and Roni Size.