‘Drugs advice’ to be provided for Electric Picnic attendees

A leading drugs agency is to provide harm reduction advice for the first time to drug users attending Electric Picnic this weekend.

Ana Liffey Drug Project will operate alongside the Irish Red Cross at the Welfare Tent in the Jimi Hendrix Campsite.

Some 55,000 people are expected to attend the three-day festival in Laois.

Ana Liffey stressed it is safer not to take illicit or unknown drugs at all, but that if people do, it advises:

  • Not to buy from a supplier they do not know;
  • Not to use drugs alone and to stay with friends;
  • To take a taster dose — with the caveat that there is no “safe dose”;
  • To take breaks, rest, and rehydrate;
  • Not to mix drugs, including alcohol.

Chief executive Tony Duffin said the project neither “promotes nor denounces substance use” but provides accurate information.

“The reality is that drugs are freely available across the country and there are no drug-free music festivals — since the Woodstock era, drugs and festivals have been inseparable in many people’s minds,” he said.

“Policing alone cannot manage drug use at music festivals. The issue requires a dual law enforcement and public health approach.”

He commended the organiser of Electric Picnic, Festival Republic, for its “proactive, health-based approach to drug issues”.

Mr Duffin said all dealings with people will be confidential: “Often, people can be afraid that they will be reported to the police simply because they have taken drugs — this is not the case.

“Although, it’s illegal to possess drugs, it’s not illegal to take them; when someone has taken drugs the focus needs to be on health and minimising harm.”

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