We have been reporting on the effectiveness of Shambhala festival in the realm of harm reduction for a couple of years now. We happy to say that another festival has picked up their sensible harm reduction policies, providing pill & powder testing services to attendees. The Secret Garden Party is a festival on a private estate in Cambridgeshire, England, and for this year’s festival, they invited a group similar to ANKORS to provide these essential services called The Loop. The Loop is an organization that conducts forensic testing of drugs at festivals and nightclubs, and while offering associated welfare support. The support was brokered with the local police and council to spear head a movement of getting people to test their drugs before they take them.
200 individuals used the facilities that were provided by the Secret Garden Party and The Loop. “Harm reduction and welfare is a vital part of hosting any event and it’s an area that for too long has seen little development or advancement,” said Freddie Fellowes, founder of the event. He also said that he was “thrilled” to be able to provide such a service.
As part of the testing services, the individuals who used them were also offered 10 minutes of health and safety advice provided by the Loop. ANKORS offers similar services and has been essential at keeping Shambhala one of the safest events in the world, and the results at the Secret Garden Party were very similar as well: People disposed of drugs they didn’t want, Information and warnings made it’s way to the crowd, and harm all over was reduced.
The Loop’s founder Fiona Measham explains that this is a big step forward, not only for her organization, but for harm reduction itself. “The Loop has been conducting forensic testing at events for a number of years, but before now, we’ve only tested drugs seized by police, dropped in amnesty bins or provided by paramedics as a result of a medical incident. In the past we have been able to use that testing information to inform on-site services and for generalized safety alerts,” said Measham.
This is just another domino in the effort to help save lives around the globe from harmful drug policies. We will still have to get out there and educate the public about how essential these services are to the health and safety at festivals. What you need to do is let your friends know about the dangers of drug use, and educate them on ways of reducing that danger.