We are already into the music festival season in the UK and last week saw the end of the Isle of Wight Festival, with Boomtown Festival to follow shortly in Hampshire too.
There are many such festivals in the UK and these events are very well attended where people enjoy music and many cultural experiences too.
All event organisers are required to complete a risk assessment and work with the local authorities to ensure that the events are safe, however, no matter how much planning is done, there are always unknown variables and one of them is a small section of people who attend who will use these events to sell drugs.
It is unfortunate that festivals are associated with drug misuse, however, it is a fact that a small element of people will add to the risk of attendees by trying to enter the event with drugs and sell these.
It is not just suppliers of drugs who add to the risk; it is also the people who will try to take their own drugs to these events and share them with their friends.
There is only so much that the appointed security staff, police and national crime Agency operatives can do to prevent drugs entering festivals and some will be secreted in.
Many vehicles and people are routinely searched in the days leading up to a festival, which will include people bringing equipment to the events, such as sound and lighting equipment and food suppliers.
Anyone found in possession of illegal substances is either dealt with on-site by police officers and drug expert officers, or if the quantity of the drugs exceeds personal use amounts, then those people will be arrested and dealt with in the normal way in police station.
If you are someone who attends these events or has children who do, then you can be reassured that as much as possible is done to ensure a safe event. However, it is important to speak to your children if they are attending these events to make them aware of the risks that do exist and not to indulge in any substance misuse.
The substances sold will be mixed with unknown substances and this is where the main risk lies. You cannot ingest anything that you don`t know what is contained in it and the problem at festivals is that suppliers will travel far and wide to try to sell drugs and you will not know who they are – nor will they care about you because they will not see you again.
Once drugs are inside an event then exchanges are quite easy due to the high number of people in attendance. Anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol cannot look after themselves or a friend safety and once someone feels unwell and goes into a tent, you will not see them, nor know whether they got into the right tent.
Each year, sadly a number of people are found dead in places that they weren`t expected and if you have become detached from your friends, the reality of the situation is that you will not be found in such large and densely attended events.
Drugs is one of the main issues that police have to deal with at festivals, but sexual assaults is another, where gathering evidence in terms of consent, is inherently difficult.
The best way to safeguard yourself or a family member / friend you know is attending a festival is to talk openly to them about the risks. In the case of younger people, you can find out al sorts of information on-line about illegal substances and make them aware of the risks, but you can also find out information for yourself and be in a better position to advise too.
There are a number of charities and organisations you can fact find through depending on where you live, but ASK FRANK (https://www.talktofrank.com) is probably one of the more universal ones.