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Pill testing saves lives at ACT’s Groovin the Moo festival

Pill testing saves lives at ACT’s Groovin the Moo festival
April 30, 2019

The lives of seven young people were potentially saved at the weekend when a second pill testing trial at the Groovin the Moo festival in Canberra identified lethal substances.

Patrons discarded their drugs after testing alerted them that their pills contained dangerous n-ethylpentylone.

The assessment, which took about 10 minutes per test, identified MDMA as the most common substance followed by cocaine, ketamine and methamphetamines.

Organiser Gino Vumbaca from Pill Testing Australia hailed the trial a success and said 171 samples had been tested on behalf of 234 participants.

Advising that there were long queues to use the pill testing service and people waited patiently for up to 20 minutes.

About 35 volunteer doctors, chemists and counsellors worked on shifts during the trial to educate youngsters about drug use and negative effects. One doctor flew over from Perth to participate.

Vumbaca told the Guardian Australia “I spoke to a lot of young people as they walked out and the most common thread was they know a hell of a lot more now than they did when they walked in.

“Some were very appreciative saying, ‘Thank God you guys are here because we know (about the recent festival deaths) in NSW and Queensland and other states’.”

There were also Groovin the Moo festivals in Adelaide and Maitland, NSW at the weekend which did not offer pill testing services.

A South Australian ambulance spokeswoman confirmed one teenager was taken to an Adelaide hospital in a serious condition after losing consciousness and paramedics also responded to a 20-year-old woman with a suspected drug overdose.

NSW police said 14 people were taken to hospital with suspected drug and alcohol intoxication cases at the Maitland festival.

The first trial at Groovin the Moo in the ACT last year had uncovered two pills containing potentially lethal contaminants.

ACT Police said the crowd at the Canberra event this year was generally well behaved. Officers seized multiple drugs including MDMA and apprehended two teenagers who will be referred to an ACT drug diversion program.

Two people were taken to the ACT Police watch house for intoxication and disorderly behaviour and there was also an alleged sexual assault.

ACT paramedics took four people to hospital – two for medical conditions and two for intoxication.

Pill Testing Australia is crowd funding to run further pill testing trials at music festivals.

Image courtesy of Groovin the Moo festival.

Related Articles

21st February 2019 - Industry and music bodies slam NSW Premier for creating ‘confusion and uncertainty’ for festival organisers

24th January 2019 - Australian Festival Association launched to create ‘world-leading’ standards

18th January 2019 - Leading medical body calls for pill testing trials at Australian festivals

27th March 2018 - Recommendation for festival pill testing to help emergency services treat overdose victims

11th December 2017 - ‘Insufficient evidence’ to prosecute Falls Festival organiser over crowd crush

17th August 2016 - Eventbrite research shows Australians love festivals

7th December 2015 - 20 overdose at Brisbane Stereosonic festival despite extra security after Sydney and Adelaide deaths

6th December 2015 - Another festival death at Adelaide Stereosonic music event

19th March 2014 - Deaths and drug arrests at Future Music Festival Asia


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