Falls Festival preparations are underway.
Falls Festival preparations are underway. Marc Stapelberg

'One pill can kill': Renewed calls for pill testing

UPDATE 10.05am: FOLLOWING warnings about a "dangerous pill" that's circulating and the death of a young reveller at the Lost Paradise music festival on Saturday, Labor candidate for Ballina, Asren Pugh has called for pill testing at music festivals.

Organisers of Falls Festival have issued a warning to their patrons about the danger of illicit drugs and in particular a new, dangerous drug.

News.com.au reports Joshua Tam, 22, died after taking an "unknown substance" at a music festival north of Sydney on Saturday.

The Brisbane man had travelled to Glenworth Valley, on the NSW Central Coast, for the Lost Paradise music festival, kicking off on Friday and due to run until Tuesday.

Police claim the man ingested an "unknown substance" on the second day of the festival and was raced to Gosford Hospital after suffering an adverse reaction to the drug about 8pm on Saturday.

He died shortly after he arrived at hospital.

Mr Pugh said: "My heart goes out to the family and friends of this young man. It is yet another young life that has been lost that shouldn't have been. We must be doing everything we can to ensure that we use the best available evidence to keep people safe." 

He said NSW Labor leader, Michael Daley, recommitted Labor to holding a drug summit if elected in March this year.

The summit would be similar to the one held under Bob Carr in 1999 when heroin use was rampant. This summit led to the introduction of the safe heroin injecting room in Kings Cross.

Mr Daley has reaffirmed multiple times that "all options will be on the table" at the drug summit, including pill testing at music festivals.

"I have two young children myself and I want to know that they will be safe when they get a little older and start going out by themselves." Mr Pugh said.

"The idea being pushed by the Berejiklian Government that you can just say no and keep threatening people with bigger and bigger fines to keep people safe is just silly. We know that this approach does not work, we know that this approach does not keep young people safe.

"Labor will hold a drug summit if we are elected and I will work with other colleagues from around the state to ensure that pill testing is on the agenda. After that, it will be about listening to all of the stakeholders - the police, parents, ambos, medical experts and young people to come up with ideas and solutions that can be tried.

"This is about safety. When it comes to safety we need practical solutions."

 

Original story: FALLS Festival organisers have warned punters about the dangers of illicit drugs, particularly a new drug that has emerged.

On Facebook, they said there had been no issues to date at their sites across the country, but wanted festival goers to be safe and to know where to go to get help if needed.

"Although we've had a safe Falls Festival to date, our medical teams have alerted us to a dangerous orange pill that is currently in circulation across Australia.

"Regardless of pill variation, we want to remind everyone of the potentially fatal risks that come with illicit substances. You do not know what is in them, how your body will react, there is no safe level of consumption.

"One pill can kill."

The post sparked renewed calls for pill testing to be allowed at festivals.

Organisers said if patrons were feeling unwell or concerned for their health, to seek medical attention immediately.

"The event and medical teams are here to help you without judgement.

"If you see anyone in trouble, please alert event staff immediately or call the Patron Safety Hotline to report. We also encourage you to dispose of any drugs safely. We want all of you to have a great time and enjoy a safe festival experience."

Patron Safety Hotline Number

Byron: 1300 940 928



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