This inquest examined the deaths of six young people who died during or just after attending music festivals in New South Wales between 2017 and 2019. Post mortem toxicology in each case show that an amount of the drug MDMA was found in their blood at a toxic level.
One case had a mixed drug toxicity of MDMA and cocaine as the cause of death. Each case was connected to a music festival that 'can loosely be described as "electronic dance music"'.
The Inquest heard evidence on the context and circumstances of each death for the purpose of assessing the broader issues that contribute to consumption of illicit substances. The wealth of material examined identified a number of key shared features.
Deputy State Coroner Grahame made several recommendations directed towards six institutions.
The NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet have established a permanent drug checking facility, to facilitate supervised drug testing at festivals, support research and develop policy towards ensuring minimum standards of policing, medical and harm reduction.
Coordinate with the Department of Health and Department of Justice and appoint a group of members to organise, fund and install amnesty bins at festivals and develop strategies for limiting strip searches to suspected suppliers.
Facilitate a NSW Drug Summit to give full, genuine, evidence based consideration of best practice for drug testing and checking; targeted education programs; decriminalising personal use; expanded regulation on some currently illicit drugs; the development implementation of law that redefines illicit drugs as primarily a health and social issue and not a law enforcement issue.
The NSW Department of Health increase research into evidence based preventative strategies.
Continue funding contributions to peer delivered prevention services and education providers.
Establish and coordinate with health providers, harm minimisation experts and promoters to allow annual review of the NSW Health Guidelines for Music Festival Event Organisers: Music Festival Harm Reduction. Amend those guidelines to facilitate and guide a full evaluation by an independent medical service provider in the event of a further music festival fatality.
The NSW Police Force issue or amend guidelines to limit strip searches to circumstances involving reasonable suspicion of supply on reasonable grounds of necessity where no less invasive alternatives are available and such reasons are to be recorded on Body Worn Video prior to the search. Remove drug detection dogs. Further, institute drug testing and checking procedures at festivals with operational policy providing a clear view towards prevention, discretion and non-punitive prevention administered by officers with pre-requisite appropriate training.
The NSW Education Standards Authority ('NESA') amend the High School curriculum to include specifically purposed modules towards deaths at music festivals encompassing risk and mitigation strategies. An independent expert review be commissioned by the NESA into appropriate education.
The Australian Festivals Association consider promoting novel harm reduction strategies and the promotion of guidelines that encourage erecting multiple free cold water stations, well ventilated and monitored areas, additional "chill out" encouraging activities and artist involvement in hard reduction messages.
The EMS Event Medical develop a review protocol enabling full investigation of further deaths through an independent consultant with a clearly defined scope and time frames.