Music festivals slammed for ‘normalising’ illegal drug use

Anti-drugs campaigners have criticised a scheme to allow people at music festivals to check the ‘purity’ of their illegal drugs before they take them.

Festival-goers would be able to bring their drugs, including cocaine and ecstasy, to a ‘testing tent’ and discover their ‘quality’.

The National Drug Prevention Alliance (NDPA), warned that the scheme is unsafe and gives out the wrong message to youngsters.

Testing tents

Organisers are hoping that the drug scheme, run by an organisation called The Loop, will be available at six to ten festivals this summer including Reading and Leeds.

Drugs are illegal because they are unsafe and that is the message that the police ought to be giving.

David Raynes, of the National Drug Prevention Alliance.

Founder of The Loop, Fiona Measham, said it was “really exciting” that the police “are prioritising health and safety over criminal justice at festivals”.

Police forces will reportedly continue to arrest drug dealers but not the drug users visiting the tents.

Assistant Chief Constable for West Yorkshire Police, Andy Battle, said the police “can never condone the use of illegal drugs”, but added that it had to “adapt” its approach “in the interests of public safety”.


Speaking for the NDPA, David Raynes said: “I do not think senior police officers have thought this through with the clarity that the public deserve.

“This will simply normalise drug taking amongst the young and will reinforce the attitude that taking drugs is an integral part of the festival experience, which it is not.”

“Drugs are illegal because they are unsafe and that is the message that the police ought to be giving”, he added.

‘Negative consequences’

Commander Simon Bray of The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) was more cautious than Assistant Chief Con. Battle.

He said: “We could not support initiatives that do not comply with the law or that have unintended negative consequences.”