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Calls Grow for Home Office to Reconsider “Shortsighted and Dangerous” Festival Drug Checking Policy

todayJune 28, 2023 19

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Calls Grow for Home Office to Reconsider “Shortsighted and Dangerous” Festival Drug Checking Policy

Musicians, MPs, and industry figures are joining forces to urge the UK government to reconsider the Home Office’s decision to implement a licensing requirement for drug-checking services at festivals. Artists such as Fatboy Slim, Billy Bragg, and Olugbenga Adelekan from Metronomy, alongside industry professionals like NTIA CEO Mike Kill and Sacha Lord, are among those signing a letter to Home Secretary Suella Braverman. Over 30 MPs, including three Conservatives, have also lent their support to the cause.

The letter argues that the Home Office’s decision, implemented suddenly ahead of the Parklife festival in June, is “shortsighted and dangerous.” It calls for the allowance of onsite drug-checking services at festivals, as such services have proven to enhance attendee safety. The current requirement for a special licence, which entails a lengthy application process of up to three months and a fee exceeding £3,000, puts festivals at risk and hinders their ability to provide drug-checking facilities.

Festival organizers express concern that the sudden implementation of the licensing requirements poses risks to festivalgoers as the summer festival season is in full swing. The stipulation that drug-checking facilities must undergo official inspections weeks in advance poses logistical challenges for temporary and mobile events. However, certain festivals, such as Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds, have found alternatives to offer drug-checking services.

The importance of adopting a harm-reduction approach to drug policy in the UK has been emphasized in previous discussions. Journalist Ed Gillett’s 2021 feature provides further insights into this matter.

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Written by: AIT

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