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UK’s Bestival will let you test the purity of your drugs

photo by Caitlin Mogridge, via Bestival Facebook

UK music festival Bestival is making an effort to reduce drug-related deaths by offering attendees facilities where they can test substances to see if they’ve been cut with anything dangerous, without fear of being arrested, The Independent reports.

The decision follows the drug-related death of a 25-year-old attendee at last year’s Bestival, and two drug-related deaths at UK festival Mutiny two weekends ago. A Bestival spokesperson told The Independent that “Bestival has always strongly advised festivalgoers to avoid taking any illegal substances” and Superintendent Mike Rogers, Dorset Police gold commander for Bestival, said that 24 people were arrested at last year’s Bestival for possession with intent to supply drugs.

However, since drug-related deaths have occurred even with zero tolerance policies in place, Bestival is making the initiative to offer these testing facilities. “Harm reduction and customer welfare are our priorities, so we are working with agencies to explore all public health options to ensure audience choice and safety,” the Bestival spokesperson added.

Other festivals have had facilities like this in the past, and as The Independent points out, UK drug-testing charity The Loop will be at 10 UK festivals this year. The Loop testers found that one in eight “ecstasy” tablets bought at Bristol fest Love Saves The Day contained unwanted substances. “Initiatives like this are undoubtedly saving lives in today’s festival climate,” said Love Saves the Day director Tom Paine.

Bestival takes place August 2-5 with M.I.A., Grace Jones, Silk City (Diplo + Mark Ronson), Chaka Khan, Thundercat, and more.

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