Festival season in Australia has just begun, but with it has come a string of overdoses. This weekend tragedy struck at Australia’s Strawberry Fields Music Festival when a 24-year-old man died from taking a combination of MDMA, gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), and cocaine. The man was rushed to the medical tent on site but suffered a heart attack and was pronounced dead at 2:02am.
Strawberry Fields issued a formal statement stating,
“We would like to send our sincere condolences to his family and friends during this distressing and terribly sad time.
We have implemented every single harm minimization strategy that is legally available to us, run in-depth education campaigns on the dangers of drug use, and worked closely with all stakeholders to ensure we are in the best possible position to prevent and manage an incident like this.
However, we cannot control the choices of individual patrons. We are begging people to stop and think about the ramifications of their choices on their family and friends and to stay safe.
We would like to extend our gratitude to the NSW Police, our onsite medical staff and the wider event team for their support.”
The Strawberry Fields death accompanies 10 other overdoses and hospitalizations that occurred this weekend. Eight men were treated for alleged overdoses at Festival X in Sydney’s Olympic Park. At Spilt Milk Festival in Victoria, two men were treated for overdoses.
Heavy policing has been in effect after a number of deaths occurred in New South Wales this past July. Out of 137 drug detections, 4 people have been charged with drug supply at Festival X.
Deputy State Coroner, Harriet Grahame, of NSW recently gave a number of recommendations regarding the security measures placed. She stated heavy policing and “sniffer dogs” are causing young people to engage in more risky drug behavior as they take them in panic to avoid being caught. In addition, she is pushing for pill testing to be available at festivals.