Illegal drugs tested at an arts and music festival

In a first for the UK, visitors to the Secret Garden Party, an arts and music festival held annually at Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, were given the chance to have their illegal drugs tested to determine their content before they took them.

Around 200 people used the testing facility, which had the blessing of the local police and council.

The aim was to help festival goers make informed choices, raising awareness of dangerous substances in circulation and reducing the likelihood of drug-related problems arising.

Among the substances found were very high-strength ecstasy pills, and various samples whose contents had been misrepresented, including anti-malaria tablets sold as ketamine and ammonium sulphate sold as ecstasy.

People who brought in their drugs for testing asked for them to be disposed of when they found they were fake.

Critics of the initiative argued that open testing encourages people to take illegal drugs, but supporters said it helps drug users to know what they are taking and makes it safer.

Drug-taking at festivals is a fact of life, and surely it is best to ensure this is done as safely as possible.

The safety aspect is paramount when it comes to our workplace drug and alcohol testing service and the policies we put in place for our clients.

Our focus is not about judging what people do in their personal lives, but about making sure they are safe when they are at work, operating machinery, driving vehicles and so on.

Our goal is to make workplaces safer, not to catch people out.

Share your thoughts