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Jon Chapple

Pill Testing: The Cure for Music's Drug Problem?


In the wake of three more unfortunate deaths after HARD Summer festival, IQ Mag writer Jon Chapple takes a serious look at legal drug testing as a radical harm reduction measure that could potentially save lives and the future of EDM events. While drug testing is used in Austria, The Netherlands and Spain, many countries' drug policies would prosecute for such measures as it would be viewed as propagating illegal substances. As radical a solution as drug testing may be, is this the ultimate answer to reducing risk?

This article originally appeared on IQ Magazine

The Charlatans perform at Kendal Calling 2016, one of two UK festivals to introduce pill testing
image © Jody Hartley

As Hard Summer ends in tragedy for the second year running, we ask if police-backed drug testing – recently trialled at SGP and Kendal Calling – could be the way forward

The issue of drug deaths at dance music festivals was thrust once again into the spotlight this week following a spate of misfortunes for the Hard Summer event in California.

First, relatives of a 19-year-old woman, Katie Dix, who died after taking designer drugs (‘bath salts’) sold as ecstasy at the 2015 festival – one of two fatalities, along with 18-year-old Tracy Nguyen, who died from MDMA “intoxication” – announced they are suing promoter Live Nation for “turning a blind eye to the known risks” of drugs “in order to capitalise on teenagers and young adults who believed they were attending a safe party environment.”

Then news broke that three young people (Derek Lee, 22, Alyssa Dominguez, 21, and Roxanne Ngo, 22) had died at Hard Summer 2016 last weekend, held in the city of Fontana for the first time after being forced out of Los Angeles following the deaths of Dix and Nguyen. Although Hard published a long list of safety precautions prior to the event – and, it should be noted, the causes of death are still undetermined – the fatalities are likely to spark further discussion about what more can be done by festival promoters to keep patrons safe at their events.

Representatives of a number of major electronic dance music (EDM) festivals, as well as a spokeswoman for Amsterdam Dance Event, were keen to highlight to IQ their events’ zero-tolerance drug policies. However, while banning drugs at such events is a good first step, with close to 30 deaths at EDM festivals since May 2015 others believe that a more radical approach beyond simple prohibition is needed if the industry is to effectively tackle its growing drug problem...

... Read the full article by Jon Chapple at iq-mag.net

Tags : drug testing edm drug problem pill testing