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Amnesty bins and pill testing: Greens hold summit on festival policing

The New South Wales Greens have held a parliamentary summit into festival policing following a spate of drug-related deaths at music events.

This month, two people died from suspected drug overdoses at the Defqon One music festival in Penrith, prompting calls for the implementation of mandatory pill testing.

Over 700 people sought medical help at the event and 69 people were caught in possession of drugs.

The state government has rejected the idea of introducing pill testing at festivals and has even threatened to have the Defqon One event shut down.

The Greens say the state government needs to adopt a different approach and has hosted a summit at state parliament to discuss the issue.

Representatives from the music industry, policing, and drug and harm minimisation experts were present at the talks to discuss how to keep people safe at festivals.

Greens MP David Shoebridge says all parties agreed that pill testing had to be part of the mix going forward.

“They came together with a fairly united position, which is pill testing needs to be part of what we do to try and make festivals safer but it’s not the solution by itself.

“We need it to cooperate with sensible policing strategies and other harm minimisation measures.”

Mr Shoebridge has also raised the idea of having “amnesty bins” at festivals if police dogs are present.

“If there are going to be drug dog operations, they need to married with amnesty bins so people can safely discard the drugs rather than having a panicked ingestion.”

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