With its Harm Reduction Tent, Shambhala Festival, Canada has really hit upon a logical solution for the steadily increasing number of drug-related issues music festivals face. This is how drug testing at festivals should really work.
Instead of feeding into perceptions and stigma surrounding drug use at festivals, Shambhala uses the best possible tool to prevent incidents – education. The Harm Reduction Tent at the festival is actually home to an on-the-spot drug testing team, who go through people’s drugs in order to determine what’s clean and what isn’t.
The video by CBC News shows the team going through hundreds of packets of MDMA, ecstasy and other pills and powders. About 30% of what is tested are found to be different and more harmful drugs than MDMA, with any known bad pills given red flags and supplementing attendees with cautionary info about overdosing.
The results are quite evident. In the last 18 years, there has been only ONE drug-related death at Shambhala, and this is credit to the Harm Reduction Tent. The United States (which violently condemns drug testing of this kind, but also has a mounting number of tragic incidents at each festival) can definitely do with taking a leaf out of its neighbour’s book.
Take a look at this video to see how it works: