Setting clear expectations for your attendees, providing people with information and tools to be safer, and being honest in your approach will reduce the risk of harm.
Unlike a bar or nightclub, a music festival can be in a distant location where you stay all day and night or a number of nights with first-aid, food and shelter provided. If licensed to sell alcohol under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, attendees intoxicated from alcohol or other drugs are expected to be removed. However, this can be unreasonable at a music festival. Therefore, a drug harm reduction strategy and a relationship with Police are a necessity. As an organiser, you must skillfully balance your legal responsibility to discourage drug use with your host responsibility to reduce harm.
It is up to you to determine how you balance the intent of the law with your desire to be a responsible host. Actions which help ensure the safety of your attendees include the following:
|Before the event||During the event|
1. Use of illegal substances at festivals is prohibited, is risky for reasons other than the law, and is discouraged.
1. A chill space close to your first aid provider where people who are intoxicated can recover and be cared for.
Drug checking, sometimes called pill testing, is a free service which tests substances to confirm their contents. It is offered in New Zealand by KnowYourStuffNZ, a volunteer organisation supported by the New Zealand Drug Foundation. KnowYourStuffNZ has tested thousands of recreational substances at various New Zealand music festivals. Drug checking is harm reduction with the potential to save lives.
Is drug checking legal?
Due to a recent law change, festival organisers can now feel confident that they cannot be prosecuted for allowing drug checking in their events. It is also now legal for drug checking services to handle illicit drugs to test them and pass them onto a lab for further testing. Read more about this on the Ministry of Health website.
SEE ALSO: Drug Checking FAQ
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