A total of 74 people were found in the possession of prohibited drugs such as cannabis, ecstasy, heroin, ice and magic mushrooms at last weekend’s Dragon Dreaming Festival in Wee Jasper, NSW. This festival is a four day event that allows for attendees to camp out to celebrate art, music nature and the freedom of self-expression. As ABC News reported, 18 NSW police officers and two drugs dogs were monitoring the event with a crowd of 2,500 people in attendance. For the size of the crowd, police were highly disappointed and concerned for the safety of those at the festival.
In comparison, 29 people out of the 23,000 in attendance at the 2014 Melbourne Big Day Out were found to be in the possession of illegal drugs, as reported by The Age. The Daily Telegraph have reported that police will begin working with all festival organisers to mitigate the risks for the event in the future.
Australian festivals have responded to the increased drug use by enforcing stricter security measures, including bag checks, sniffer dogs and police patrols. Many are also applying medical risk assessment tools such as those developed by the WA Department of Health called a Medical Risk Classification for Mass Gatherings, (http://www.public.health.wa.gov.au/cproot/2542/2/Medical%20Risk%20Classification.pdf).