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Calls For Drug Testing To Be Offered To Irish Music Festival Goers


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The Minister for Drugs Strategy has refused to say if she'd welcome drug testing at Irish festivals.

A number of festivals in other countries already offer music fans the option to see what is in their drugs, and how dangerous it could be to take them.

There has been a call for all clubs and festivals across the UK to introduce drug testing following the deaths of two young people at a festival in England last month.

An 18-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man fell ill at Mutiny in Portsmouth after taking what was described as "high strength or a bad batch" of drugs.

Catherine Byrne, The Minister for Drugs Strategy, has stressed that the safest option is to not take illegal drugs at all.

"I do think that anything that can be put in place to reduce harm and support recovery is very important for us to do", she said.

However, Minister Byrne stopped short of saying if she would welcome drug testing at Irish festivals.

"I can't comment on what other groups are doing, but at the end of the day when there is a festival I ask people to look after themselves and look after each other".

Last week the HSE issued a warning to dance music lovers that the strength of some ecstasy pills and MDMA has increased massively. 

Dr. Eamonn Keenan says the safest option is to not take drugs at all, and has warned that "there are high dose batches of ecstasy or MDMA in circulation."

He is advising people with mental or physical health problems not to take drugs, and has told those that choose to to "look after themselves" and let their friends know.

"Always make sure when you arrive at a festival that you know where the Medical tent is located", and "avoid trying new types of drugs for the first time at festivals", he said.

The HSE advises that it is always safer not to take drugs, but has these tips if you do:

  • Test dose a new batch – begin with a low dose ¼ pill
  • Wait at least two hours before using anymore
  • Some pills are cut with other drugs that take effect more slowly
  • When buying always know your source
  • Mixing drugs and alcohol can increase the risk of unwanted side effects
  • Stay with trusted friends
  • Stay well hydrated by drinking water and remember to eat properly
  • MDMA can make people sexually aroused - always use a condom
  • Chewing gum can help jaw cramps
  • Wait 4 weeks between sessions.

For more information and support go to www.drugs.ie or you can freephone the HSE Drug Helpline on 1800 459 459.


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