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UK festivals to offer facilities for testing drugs this summer

Events have support from police to help protect users... 

A number of UK festivals, including giant double-event Reading and Leeds, have announced plans to introduce safe drug testing spaces for punters this summer.

Head of Live Nation subsidiary Festival Republic, Melvin Benn, who also organises Latitude, V Festival, Wireless, told the Press Association he is being "very proactive" and expects “between six and 10 festivals" to take part this year if he gets the go-ahead from West Yorkshire Police and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

“We talked about it during the summer of last year and the reality is that I took a decision that unless and until the NPCC supported the principle of it, it was difficult for us to move forward on it,” said Benn.

If the initiative is launched, drug testing and welfare support organisation The Loop will set up protected testing tents within partaking festivals, where revellers can test their illegal substances. The Loop will then destroy whatever has been handed over.

The Loop headed up the project at Cambridgeshire festival Secret Garden Party last year, testing drugs for around 200 people.

Founder, Fiona Measham, said: “It’s really exciting that police are prioritising health and safety over criminal justice at festivals.” She hopes the initiative will eventually be rolled out in nightclubs and venues across the country to help educate and protect drug users rather than penalise them.

DJ Mag talked to Measham about the subject following the reopening of Fabric after it was shut due to two drug-related deaths last year.