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Journo denied entry to festival

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.

Generic festival shot from Seaside Sounds in Darwin at the Darwin Ski Club.Source:Supplied

A teenage boy was found with almost 600 capsules and $2000 cash at a Sydney music festival where several people left critically ill due to drug use.

Six young men aged under 25 left the Hardcore Till I Die festival at Sydney Olympic Park on Saturday in critical or serious conditions.

All were either stable or discharged from hospital by Sunday. Police accused seven people of drug supply at the event, including the 17-year- old Castle Hill boy with 579 capsules and $2075.

He’s due to face a children’s court on February 20.

Another alleged supplier, aged 25, was allegedly found with 100 MDMA capsules and a knife while a South Australian woman allegedly had 48 ecstasy capsules on her.

A further 16 people are due to face court for drug possession while 30 people were ejected for intoxication.

According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, one of its reporters was denied entry to the event despite having paid for a ticket. The journalist had reported about drug taking at previous events organised by the company. He was handed an envelope with cash totalling the cost of the ticket and told the organisers had the right to refuse entry.

The HTID festival was one of two Australia Day music festivals in Sydney to have extra high-level critical care medical teams and more harm reduction measures, such as roving drug educators and free electrolyte drinks.

Five people were taken to hospital from Electric Gardens in Centennial Park due to suspected drug use, while 55 people were charged with drug possession and one woman accused of MDMA supply.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, whose government footed the bill for the extra protection, said she hoped and prayed people were starting to get the message to not take illicit drugs.

“I know some people are advocating one solution or another but there isn’t one solution,” she told reporters on Sunday.

“It’s a complex issue.

“We want young people to feel they can have a conversation, we want young people to get help when they need it.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has not budged on the debate about allowing pill testing at festivals.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has not budged on the debate about allowing pill testing at festivals.Source:News Corp Australia

The premier and health department thanked staff and volunteers at the two festivals for ensuring attendees’ safety.

“The additional critical care staff contributed significantly to the positive outcomes seen overnight,” a NSW Health spokeswoman said.

Emergency Services Minister Troy Grant said there was no doubt the police force’s disruption of three large drug operations in the lead up to the festivals had an impact in the quantity of drugs in and around these festivals. Extra safety measures will also be in place at hip-hop festival Rolling Loud at Sydney Showgrounds on Sunday.

FOUR SUSPECTED DRUG OVERDOSES AT VICTORIA EVENT

Four revellers are recovering in hospital after being suspected of overdosing on drugs while at Victoria’s notorious regional Rainbow Serpent Festival over the long weekend.

A man, aged in his 40s, on Sunday afternoon became the fourth person to be taken to Ballarat hospital linked to drug-taking since the music event kicked off on Friday. Ambulance Victoria said.

A fifth person has been hospitalised over the weekend due to a medical condition.

Victoria Police caught 22 people with drugs in the 24 hours to 7.30am on Sunday, issuing 17 drug diversions or cannabis cautions.

Festival-goers have been warned about taking drugs in. Picture: Paul Barbaro

Festival-goers have been warned about taking drugs in. Picture: Paul BarbaroSource:Supplied

Officers arrested four males and a female for various offences including trafficking and possessing a drug of dependence, counterfeit cash, proceeds of crime and assault.

A 17-year-old boy arrested for drug trafficking will appear at a children’s court at a later date while a 25-year-old French woman on the same charge is due in court on Tuesday.

Sniffer drugs had been brought into the festival in Lexton, near Ballarat, to assist.

Three festival goers were injured, one seriously, after a truck rolled into a campsite on Thursday afternoon.

The four-day event has been held amid political debate about pill testing after five people died from suspected drug overdoses at NSW festivals since September. The festival has also been marred by controversy after last year’s two reported sexual assaults, five arrests for drug possession and 44 people testing positive to drug-driving.

The event wraps up on Monday.

Several people have been hospitalised, three in a critical condition, following music festivals in Sydney. Authorities were on high alert on Saturday for the Hardcore Til I Die festival at Sydney Showground and Electric Gardens at Centennial Park. NSW Health saying drugs were a likely factor in nine of the cases. The state government continues to dismiss calls for pill testing to be introduced, moving in favour of having more doctors, nurses and paramedics on site to help partygoers. Image: News Corp Australia

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