The HSE will launch its first ever drug-checking facility this year at Electric Picnic. The service, which is free of charge, will allow festival-goers to have substances screened prior to usage.
Entirely anonymous, the new initiative is aimed at harm reduction and is the latest in a series of initiatives by the Health Service Executive to promote safe recreational drug use.
Campaigns with colourful slogans like ‘Start Slow and Go Slow’ and ‘Leave the Mixing to the DJ’ offer safe advice to users rather than a puritanical approach that often encourages the opposite. Since last year the HSE have been working with several organisations in the wake of nightlife’s return post-Covid to promote responsible drug use.
Having worked closely with the HSE on the project’s development, Craig Conolly described the announcement as a watershed moment in the conversation surrounding recreational drug use in Ireland.
“Having been involved in the Drug Trends and Drug Checking Working Group with the HSE as far back as Autumn 2019, it’s incredibly encouraging to see an anonymous drug checking facility be available to revellers at Ireland’s biggest music festival.”
“Through this and ‘The Start Low and Go Slow’ campaigns, Ireland is finally addressing the elephant in the room with respect to people taking recreational drugs in festival settings or at any celebration of life. The mission is to prevent all unnecessary loss of life or endangering the health of young people across the country. Through access to these facilities, festival attendees can make safer and responsible choices.”
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