A teenager has passed away, while three others are in critical condition, following suspected drug overdoses at a Sydney dance festival on Saturday.
As the ABC reports, a 19-year-old man had been attending the Knockout – Games of Destiny festival at Sydney’s Olympic Park on Saturday when he fell ill.
After being rushed to Concord Hospital upon suspicion of a drug overdose, he tragically passed away at around 4:30am on Sunday morning. Two other women – aged 19 and 25 – were also taken to Westmead Hospital for suspected overdoses, and remain in a critical condition at the current time.
An additional 13 people were hospitalised following the event, with 130 reportedly seeking medical assistance during the festival itself.
According to a press release by the NSW Police, the festival was attended by more than 180,000 people, with officers conducting more than 200 searches, issuing 69 banning notices, and discovering 62 people in possession of drugs.
A further five people were also charged with drug supply offences including an 18-year-old woman, who will appear in court at a later date.
As the SBS reports, police explained to reporters that festival attendees are continuing to ignore the warning signs of dangerous drugs.
“There is no acceptable use for drugs – the message is clear,” explained South West Metropolitan Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Peter Thurtell. “We will continue to have a strong presence at festivals and dance parties with the wellbeing and safety of attendees our number one priority.”
Despite these incidents, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has remained defiant against calls for pill-testing, instead revealing plans to shut down festivals such as Defqon.1, where two people died of overdoses back in September.
“Anyone who advocates pill-testing is giving the green light to drugs,” Gladys Berejiklian explained at the time. “There is no such thing as a safe drug and unfortunately when young people think there is, it has tragic consequences.”
“I’m absolutely aghast at what’s occurred [and] I don’t want any family to have to go through the tragedy that some families are waking up to this morning — it’s just horrible to think about.”