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Festival punters stretchered out, arrested

Pill testing had it's first successful trial this year, yet Australia is still lagging behind many European countries in using this on a large scale. Here is why Australia should embrace pill testing.

Emergency services attend to a man before he is loaded into an ambulance at the Rainbow Serpent Festival.Source:News Corp Australia

Revellers have been carted off in stretchers and dozens of others arrested for drug possession at three separate music festivals in Sydney and Victoria on Saturday.

Police were on high alert as thousands of young people descended on Hardcore Till I Die, an electronic dance event at Homebush, and Electric Gardens at Centennial Park following a string of drug-related deaths in recent months at music festivals.

NSW Health told The Daily Telegraph five people were taken to hospital — four from the Centennial Park event and one from the Homebush event — and said “drugs are likely to have been a factor in three of these five cases”.

One is in a serious condition while the others remain in a stable condition.

At Centennial Park The Telegraph reports two people were charged with drug supply while a further 24 were handed field court attendance notices and another 18 were issued with criminal infringement notices.

More than 18 people, including a 17-year-old boy, were arrested for drug offences at Victoria’s Rainbow Serpent Festival.

The teenager was arrested for drug trafficking and will appear at a children’s court at a later date, while a 25-year-old French woman was also arrested on the same charge and will appear alongside three others in Ballarat Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Sniffer dogs were brought in to the notorious music festival near Ballarat, which saw one young man suffer a suspected drug overdose on Friday.

More revellers have been taken to hospital after deadly illicit drugs were taken in plain sight.

After a tragic start to the controversial festival — including the overdose and a horrific road death — brazen partygoers have continued to take and deal drugs across the grounds.

University student Lucy Groen, 19, was killed in a car crash while travelling to the event with a friend.

Three people were crushed by a truck on Thursday before the four-day bush doof festival kicked off at Lexton, near Ballarat.

A man is loaded into an ambulance at the Rainbow Serpent Festival in Victoria.

A man is loaded into an ambulance at the Rainbow Serpent Festival in Victoria.Source:News Corp Australia

Lucy Groen, 19, died on the way to the festival in a road accident.

Lucy Groen, 19, died on the way to the festival in a road accident.Source:Supplied

POLICE TARGET SYDNEY FESTIVALS

The Victoria drama comes amid three music festivals in Sydney hit with a greater presence of medical teams and nurses on standby for drug overdoses and dehydration over the Australia Day weekend.

Electric Gardens in Centennial Park and Hardcore Till I Die at the Sydney Showground in Olympic Park are being held today while Rolling Loud Australia festival takes over the Homebush venue on Sunday.

Three critical care doctors, a critical care paramedic and four emergency nurses will attend each event alongside festival medical teams, while thousands of bottles of free chilled water will be available to crowds.

Drug dogs and heavy security has greeted partygoers arriving at the festivals.

The Sunday Telegraph reports a 19-year-old swallowed a cap filled with powerful party drug MDMA outside Hardcore Till I Die before entering the electronic music event.

The brazen behaviour comes despite five people, aged between 19 to 23, died from drug overdoses at music festivals since September.

It was the first major rave put on by Harder Styles United since December’s Knockout Games of Destiny at the same venue, where amateur AFL player Callum Brosnan, 19, died in a suspected overdose.

Emergency services attend to a man before he is loaded into an ambulance at the Rainbow Serpent Festival.

Emergency services attend to a man before he is loaded into an ambulance at the Rainbow Serpent Festival.Source:News Corp Australia

NSW Health says multiple harm reduction measures are in place to prevent deaths at the “extreme risk” events.

The department has also launched a social media campaign to remind those engaging with “party drugs” to seek help quickly if they feel unwell.

“If you or a friend is confused, dizzy, too hot, vomiting or has a fast heart rate, get to the medical tent fast. You won’t get into trouble, health staff are there to help you,” chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said in a statement.

HTID festival organisers have reiterated its “zero drug policy” via a post on the event’s official Facebook page.

Additional advice messages have been posted to revellers including that there will be “no judgment” at first aid.

The measures come as the NSW government continues to refuse considering pill testing at future events while the opposition has vowed to hold a drug summit if its elected to government in the March election

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