Police making sure the grounds at Falls Festival Byron Bay are safe.
Police making sure the grounds at Falls Festival Byron Bay are safe. Marc Stapelberg

Festival attendees criticised for ignoring drug warnings

POLICE have criticised festival punters who still chose to take drugs to The Falls Festival after a string of deaths in the past year.

Tweed Byron Police District Inspector Gary Cowan said while crowds at the festival's Byron Bay event were generally well behaved, police were disappointed by the number of people detected with drugs.

He said the exact figure of drug detections was still being calculated but these drugs included MDMA, cannabis, magic mushrooms, cocaine, ketamine and LSD.

"Numerous persons were detected with prohibited drugs," Insp Cowan said.

"Police are concerned about any type of drug that's brought into premises like that where you've got 18,000 people in a confined area.

"But police are still concerned that no matter what we do and say and news about deaths at other events, people will still try and take illegal drugs that can cause illness or death into these events."

Insp Cowan was unable to comment on recent debate about whether pill testing should be trialled in NSW, but said recent tragedies at festivals should deter prospective drug users.

A man died at Beyond the Valley in Melbourne on New Year's Eve, while a 22-year-old died at NSW festival Lost Paradise.

Organisers of Falls Festival issued a "serious drug alert" to attendees, warning of a deadly orange pill circulating Australia.

"At the end of the day, it's illegal," Insp Cowan said.

Meanwhile, he said 18 people were nabbed trespassing at the festival site, an offence that landed them with a fine.

There was one incident of indecent behaviour.

"The crowd were generally well-behaved," he said.

"Police were happy with the crowd, only the fact that people still think they can use illegal drugs and take them into a festival... police are still concerned."



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