Mystery drug kills man at music festival

By | December 30, 2018

A man has died and two others are in hospital after taking an “unknown substance” at a music festival north of Sydney on Saturday.

The 22-year-old Queensland man had travelled to Glenworth Valley, on the NSW Central Coast, for the Lost Paradise music festival, kicking off on Friday and due to run until Tuesday.

Police claim the man ingested an “unknown substance” on the second day of the festival and was raced to Gosford Hospital after suffering an adverse reaction to the drug about 8pm on Saturday.

He died shortly after he arrived at hospital.

A second man and a woman were also taken to hospital for treatment after becoming seriously ill from another unknown substance.

The two people remain in hospital in a stable condition.

Lost Paradise has said their: sincerest condolences” are with the family of the man but have insisted the event is “strictly drug-free“.

Police estimate approximately 11,000 people are attending this year’s event, hosted in bushland 20km west of Gosford.

The Lost Paradise website claims the event was originally designed to “bring together kindred spirits for a good old fashioned party among nature”.

Spread across acres of bushland, the festival features big name performers like The Kooks, Tash Sultana, M.I.A., Joey Bada$ $ and Pnau.

The annual event features major music acts, roving performers, yoga, workshops and a New Year’s Eve party and parade.

Police launched a major drug operation across the festival, searching guests, camping tents and vehicles for drugs.

A total of 184 people and almost 100 vehicles have been searched so far.

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More than 50 people have been issued with court notices for drug possession and three people have been charged with drug supply offences.

A 21-year-old man was allegedly found with 105 MDMA pills and was charged with drug supply.

Officers found a 23-year-old man carrying 80 MDMA pills and 65 bags of cocaine.

Another 23-year-old man had also stashed 26 MDMA pills and was charged with drug supply.

In a statement released on Sunday, the festival organisers said they had engaged DanceWize NSW, a program that is funded by NSW Health to educate people on the implications of drug use.

“This is a very distressing incident and our sincerest thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends of the deceased. The matter is the subject of a police investigation and we will continue to co-operate and provide whatever assistance we can.

“Lost Paradise is a strictly drug-free event that is about celebrating life, love and nature in a fun, safe and welcoming environment.

“A great deal of planning and effort goes into ensuring the safety and welfare of our festival-goers and event staff. We work closely with local police to try to ensure festival-goers respect our drug free policy and NSW Ambulance to provide extensive medical support across the festival site,” the statement said.

The festival death comes weeks after 19-year-old Callum Brosnan died from a suspected drug overdose at a hardcore music festival in Sydney.

The teenage musician died after attending the Knockout Games of Destiny dance party at Sydney’s Olympic Park.

Paramedics raced 16 other revellers to hospital, three people were placed in induced comas and a further 130 people sought medical treatment during the event for drug-related sickness.

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The incident has reignited calls for the NSW Government to introduce pill testing, as the number of drug-related deaths continue to rise at music festivals.

People vented their frustration on social media, warning the government that more people would die if action was not taken sooner.

“Young people take risks. You are never going to stop it,” one commenter, Nicola Booth, said.

Another, James Brechney, said NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian ruled out the possibility of pill testing “without even consulting experts”.

“How many people have to die before they consider consulting an expert to consider pill testing?” he said.

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