Regional festival Groovin The Moo has been marred at its first stop in Maitland, NSW this weekend, due to a number of suspected drug overdoses and hospitalisations at the event on Saturday.
The Newcastle Herald has reported that a 15-year-old girl collapsed and stopped breathing around 2:30 pm on Saturday. Paramedics were nearby, and thanks to some quick thinking and CPR, the girl was able to be revived and moved to the nearby John Hunter Children’s Hospital. Having been admitted in a critical condition, she gained consciousness the following morning, and was able to speak with her family.
A male punter was also hospitalised following a similarly suspected drug overdose, and was discharged from Maitland Hospital after treatment on Sunday. A third was treated for “bad effects of drugs,” while 36 people were caught by sniffer dogs, predominantly carrying MDMA.
Detective Inspector Mitch Dubojski expressed his disappointment at the numbers, pointing out that many were under age. “We continually warn people of the dangers of using these substances but the message doesn’t seem to be getting through, they just don’t want to hear it.”
This is the latest of a long, long string of drug-related incidents at Australian music festivals, including seven deaths in the past twelve months. At this point it is difficult to accurately evaluate the causes of these suspected overdoses, be they the result of impure drugs, a reaction to another substance, or simply having ingested a near-lethal dose. For anybody attending the remaining festival dates, please be careful what you buy, who you buy it from, and how much you ingest. If you are unsure of what you are taking, do not take it.
Groovin The Moo visited Canberra yesterday. It continues on to Oakbank today, followed by Bendigo, Townsville and Bunbury across the next fortnight. For lineup and more details, click here.
Howl & Echoes is a major advocate for drug education and regulation. Drug testing at events like music festivals should be legally implemented as soon as possible to assist in avoiding future drug-related incidents. Harm reduction should be the top priority for all those in law enforcement and health services, and we will continue to do what we can to raise awareness and understanding of these issues.
Image: Jamila Toderas / Canberra Times