News State NSW News More music festival overdoses as Sydney police make scores of drugs busts

More music festival overdoses as Sydney police make scores of drugs busts

The latest wave of overdoses and arrests will boost calls for pill-testing at music festivals. Photo: Getty
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As the condition of several people taken to hospital in critical conditions from Australia Day music festivals in Sydney continues to improve, calls for for pill-testing have grown louder.

Six young men aged under 25 were taken from the Hardcore Till I Die festival at Sydney Olympic Park on Saturday in critical or serious conditions.

Meanwhile, eight people age 19 to 67 left Electric Gardens Festival in Centennial Park in ambulances.

But NSW Health on Sunday said all 14 were either in stable conditions or had been discharged from hospital.

Drugs were thought to be a factor in 10 of the 14 cases.

Police say at least 75 people were caught in total for drug-related offences, with 68 issued criminal infringement notices and others given cautions.

“NSW Health would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the staff and volunteers at the Hardcore Till I Die and Electric Gardens festivals, ensuring the safety of the many thousands of attendees,” a NSW Health spokeswoman said.

“The additional critical care staff contributed significantly to the positive outcomes seen overnight.”

Seven people, including a 19-year-old South Australian woman, were charged with drug supply at the Till I Die festival.

One Electric Gardens attendee was picked up for the same alleged offence.

Each festival had extra high-level critical care medical teams and more harm reduction measures, such as roving drug educators and free electrolyte drinks.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian, whose government footed the bill for the extra protection, said she hoped and prayed people were starting to get the message to not take illicit drugs.

“I know some people are advocating one solution or another but there isn’t one solution,” she told reporters on Sunday, referencing growing demands for pill-testing booths at festivals.

Mrs Berejiklian has consistently rejected calls for legally sanctioned tests of illegal drugs.

“It’s a complex issue,” she said, adding that “we want young people to feel they can have a conversation, we want young people to get help when they need it.”

– with AAP