As Ireland prepares to host its biggest music festival of the year, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has issued a warning for all festival goers for “pink cocaine”, according to their latest statement.
The now-sold-out Electric Picnic Music and Arts Festival will be hosting around 70,000 music lovers and will showcase an array of artists such as Niall Horan, Billie Eilish, The Killers, Fred again.., 999999999, I Hate Models, Trym, and Overmono. For the first time, the event will collaborate with the HSE in the Safer Nightlife Programme. The program will focus on harm prevention through 70 HSE-trained volunteers, five drug-surrender bins, drug tents at three separate locations within festival grounds, and an on-site lab for drug testing and real-time results.
The HSE national clinical lead for addiction services, Prof Eamon Keenan, has expressed that Electric Picnic will provide 30 hours of harm reduction support services for ticket holders. They plan to have visible alerts across the festival regarding drugs of concern to inform concertgoers in real-time. Moreover, the organization was present at the Life and Body and Soul Festivals earlier this summer with a high success rate. Besides reducing harm from drug use, the HSE also wants to obtain samples from drugs through the bins located at festivals to have a better understanding of the drugs that are circling the nightlife in Ireland, and as a result, spread awareness of the volatility and unpredictable strength of each pill or powders.
The New Drug
Within the last two years, the organization shared that they found seven different drugs that were not in Ireland before. As of most recently, “pink cocaine”, or “Tuci”.
Although Tuci made its way to Europe recently, the substance’s origin traces back to Colombia. The dangers of Tuci rely on the mystery of what’s in the powder. It’s a combination of different drugs like ketamine and MDMA. There are also possible traces of methamphetamines or fentanyl. Through lab testing, the HSE plans on continuing its campaign to further understand the drug market in Ireland and increase harm prevention resources year-long with the help of participating events and venues.
“As Minister, I would encourage many people attending the festival to be wary of their dangers of using drugs, to engage with the HSE Staff and volunteers for information and support about drug use, and to look out for updates about drug trends of concern on the big screens and on the Electric Picnic App.”-Irish Minister Naughton, Minister for Public Health, Well being and National Drug Strategy
The HSE has similar strategies to what other organizations in the U.S. promote for harm reduction at festivals. For more information on harm reduction and partying safely, please visit the following websites: End Overdose, HSE’s latest statement, and DanceSafe.