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We have put together a short Harm Reduction film covering the measures we put in place this year to keep people safe, as well as spread some much needed awareness on the dangers that can be associated with taking drugs.
As we enter the festive party season, it is even more important to be fully aware of the risks associated with what you're putting into your body. Please give yourself 15 minutes to watch this; education and awareness can be a lifesaver.
It feels like a huge evolution in the festival world, all of a sudden things are stepping up and we’re progressing… We’d like to use the festival platform to introduce these new harm reduction services and ways of bringing public safety and education towards drugs. - Lak Mitchell, Co-founder and Creative Director, Boomtown
The documentary features a wide range of opinions and experiences from experts and influencers, including; Professor Fiona Measham, Director of harm reduction drug testing service The Loop, Director of Chill Welfare Katy Mcloud, Ed Morrow from Royal Society of Public Health England, as well as musician and key spokesman for Boomtown’s harm reduction campaign, Beans on Toast.
In the UK drug related deaths are at at their highest rates on record, ever. This isn’t just a problem for Boomtown or just for festivals, this is the situation right across the country. - Fiona Measham, The Loop
The most powerful and poignant voices in this open and, on occasion, painfully honest film are that of Ellie Rowe’s family. Ellie Rowe, 18, died at Boomtown in 2013 after mixing a small amount of alcohol with a small amount of high purity Ketamine. Ellie’s mum, Wendy Teasdill, along with her sisters, Iona and Belinda Rowe and Ellie’s Godmother, Saskia Kent, all returned to give a talk in the festival’s Speakers’ Corner tent for the second year running. They expressed their support for the services and measures implemented at Boomtown, significantly The Loop’s drug testing and harm reduction intervention service:
‘We don’t know what we don’t know; Ellie didn’t know how strong that ketamine was, she didn’t know that the ketamine and the alcohol was a possible lethal combination…’ Wendy Teasdill
Along with the services provided by The Loop, which saw 1,132 service users get their drugs tested for safety, and over 2,000 individuals engaging with the harm reduction intervention, we've implemented a series of other drug awareness and harm reduction measures, on top of their extensive medical and welfare provisions. These included;
Pre-event awareness and education campaign along with drugs safety fact sheet on the festival website: www.boomtownfair.co.uk/info/drugs-and-safety/
Trained drug workers and welfare staff roaming campsites offering advice.
Amnesty areas at the entrance
Thorough security searches
Support services on site
People accept that rates of drug use are going up and the approach that we’ve had; that’s for years centred around prohibition, centred around enforcements, is not working in terms of reducing harm. - Ed Morrow, Royal Society of Public Health England.
The wide ranging measures put in place to keep drugs out of the festival as well as to keep people safe and aware, if they managed to get them in, had many positive effects to environment; following the harm reduction intervention from The Loop, 44% of customers said they would reduce their dose or discard their drugs and the festival as a whole saw a 25% reduction in drug related medical incidents.
We are committed to spreading awareness and education on the dangers that drug experimentation can pose. This short film sums up all the effort that goes into to keeping people safe and providing them with the tools to make informed and educated decisions.
For more information, please head to our website here: www.boomtownfair.co.uk/info/drugs-and-safety/