NSW’s Controversial Drug Amnesty Bins Are Coming To A Festival Next Week

Please protect the bin chickens.

NYE In The Park is first NSW music festival to have drug amnesty bins

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The first music festival to feature NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s promised drug amnesty bins will be Sydney’s NYE In The Park, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Rather than allow pill-testing at festivals, a proven harm minimisation measure – because young people will take drugs, as they have since time immemorial – Berejiklian’s government posed earlier this month the prospect of drug amnesty bins.

With the bins, punters can, without the threat of legal consequences, dispose of their drugs before entering a show. At the time, Berejiklian said: “Amnesty bins provide a quick and easy way for music festival-goers to discard their drugs — no questions asked.”

NSW Health will be running a year-long trial of the bins, reassuring festival-goers that they can throw their drugs away without being caught by the cops.

A statement from NSW Health said: “Festival patrons will be able to use the bins without fear of being arrested or being monitored by police. We encourage patrons to use the amnesty bins as well as to seek support and advice from the peer-based harm reduction services and the medical services at the event.”

“High risk” festivals will each have two secure bins, which will be adequately signposted, and overseen by security guards.

NSW Police also stressed that they would not be trying to pick anyone up for using the bins.

Their statement said: “The NSW Police Force supports the NSW Health-led 12-month trial of drug disposal bins. While the exact bin placement will depend on the venue and crowd ingress, they will be placed outside the area of the police operation and officers will be directed not to patrol or interact with the bins.”

NYE In The Park, whose line-up features Hermitude, The Jungle Giants and Client Liaison, this morning also revealed a Festival Harm Reduction Quiz. The incentive to participate is a free VIP upgrade for you and a friend, and you’ll be educated on the “risk, symptoms and harm minimisation strategies associated with drug use at festivals”.

The survey details the festival’s harm minimisation strategy, including the location of first aid tents and DanceWize‘s Crowd Care initiative for free health and welfare education and supplies, like condoms and lollipops. The festival will also implement the ‘Ask For Angela’ anti-sexual assault campaign, which originated in the UK, where patrons who feel unsafe or harassed can discretely approach staff for assistance by asking for a person called ‘Angela’.

While the quiz talks about abstinence as the only way to avoid the potential harms of alcohol and drug use, it reassures punters that they will not get in trouble if they seek out medical help while on drugs: “DanceWize NSW, medical and other crowd care services are there to keep you safe, not lock you up”, the info sheet reads.

The survey then asks a series of questions based on common myths about drug and alcohol use, including if “amyl is safe to drink”, and if re-dosing or double dosing MDMA increases its pleasurable effects.  Apparently the answer to both is no, which, uh, is interesting.

Let’s see which cooked punter tries to get some extra gear and ends up in an empty drug bin, shall we?

Feature image from NYE In The Park’s Facebook page.