Splore music festival open about drug testing due to changing attitudes

Staying safe in a world of stronger drugs and more potent doses is a conversation currently underway at a music festival in Auckland.

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It’s aimed at keeping those at the annual event safe. Source: 1 NEWS

Drug testing is openly available at Splore and while it's technically illegal, the organiser says it reflects changing views on drug use.

Another serious conversation is also taking place about party drugs like MDMA or ecstacy, that are now arriving in stronger doses than ever before.

Information sessions at the festival are promoting onsite drug checking designed to keep recreational users safe.

"This year is a year when there's a lot of MDMA around, so we're finding pills that's not just one pill one dose - it's one pill maybe two or three doses," says Jez Weston, deputy manager of Know Your Stuff.

The presence of drug checkers is often not disclosed at festivals because under the current law organisers could be prosecuted.

Festival director, John Minty says however, worse would be someone dying of an overdose.

“A promoter or festival owners worst nightmare is to have someone medi-vacced out or dying of an overdose - whether its alcohol or drugs ,” he told 1 NEWS.

He says he is now open about the testing because he believes attitudes are changing.

In a statement police say they're aware drug checking services are available, that prosecution remains an option to keep people safe but their primary focus is well-being.

“We felt emboldened by that attitude that they're taking a pragmatic approach to the issue rather than a legal heavy handed approach,” says Mr Minty.

The drug testing area is off limits to the media but a single test only takes about 45 seconds and it's open to festival goers from 10am in the morning until 6pm.