It’s been a few weeks since a UK festival became the first of its kind to have a drugs testing space where you cannot get charged or arrested for possessing illegal substances, a decriminalized zone in essence. Treating drugs as a medical issue and not as a criminal one is a fairly progressive step from a right wing government and to its credit hasn’t seen any objections from the medical establishment yet, nor at this point it seems likely too.
The Secret Garden Party Festival in Cambridgeshire, while it was running, was the first in the UK to try out the idea. The testing tent was run by The Loop, a non-profit drug and alcohol service. You can see this as standard in countries like Holland and Germany, they have adapted a more progressive drugs policy and have had less drug related deaths than the UK per capita.
The testing itself takes from 5 – 15 mins to analyse each sample, it doesn’t cost anything to use the service and each person given results are also given individual advice pending on what the results yield.
In Scotland recent years have seen a rise in drug related deaths. Many speculate that this is due to an unregulated criminal market cutting corners and mixing drugs with toxic and sometimes fatal substances. Many hope that this will spur the advancements of such initiatives throughout the UK and pave the way for a more liberal drugs policy.
Adopting a more progressive drugs policy seems to have had positive effects in other countries, with the first testing zone at a commercial music festival in the UK, it’s definitely a promising and surprising sign of rationality which could have an effect on our own club culture in the future.
Words: Ryan Townley