Ireland’s HSE Safer Nightlife Program Rolls Out Second Phase Of Festival Substance Testing

Ireland’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has rolled out the second phase of their drug monitoring project as part of the “Safer Nightlife Program” that focuses on back-of-house testing.

The partnership aims to provide real-time testing and support in a nonjudgmental way for festival attendees who choose to partake in substances.

Back-of-house drug checking obtains samples through amnesty boxes, police intervention, or medical intervention where all attendees are notified via social media if something of concern comes up during testing.

The Safer Nightlife Program has many dimensions including training and outreach on harm reduction, social media campaigns, and partnerships with festivals.

HSE has incorporated its new harm reduction process at Life Festival and Electric Picnic and plans to roll out a second phase at festivals in 2023.

In 2022, the HSE found three new psychoactive substances that had not previously been detected in Ireland as well as dangerous levels of MDMA of up to 235 milligrams.

Prof. Eamon Keenan, HSE’s national clinical lead of addiction services, said about the rollout at other Irish festivals in 2023, “I am delighted to launch the second phase of our Safer Nightlife campaign that includes an expanded ‘back-of-house’ drug checking service with an aim to identify drug market trends of concern.”

Keenan continued, “Through a ‘back-of-house’ approach we can access drugs in a safe, non-judgmental manner to quickly gain insight on what drugs may be in circulation and issue real-time drug alerts about substances of concern to festival attendees via our social media channels.”

Featured image credit Paulo Goncalves for Electric Picnic, Second image a stock image from Unsplash

Written by
Danielle Levy

Danielle Levy is an MBA with a concentration in Corporate Social Responsibility. Danielle has several years of experience in the sustainability education world and has held various positions in human resources and intern management. Danielle is passionate about the ties between sustainability and social impact.

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