Drug Testing at Music Festivals: a Right or a Crime? Taking a Harm Reduction Approach to Protect the Right Not to Be Deprived of Life
40 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2020
Date Written: September 2, 2019
Drug consumption is a commonplace practice at music festivals. It can result in a risk of adverse consequences to individual drug users in attendance, and in some cases fatality. The implementation of on-site drug testing at such events through harm reduction focused law reform could significantly reduce these risks. Section 12 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 prevents music festival organisers and management from allowing drug testing to take place for fear of prosecution. Not allowing drug testing to occur at music festivals threatens the right not to be deprived of life enshrined in s 8 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. Protection of this right should compel government to legislate accordingly so that festival organisers and management can allow drug testing to occur at their events. Such harm reduction focused law reform to allow testing would act as the least limiting measure on the right not to be deprived of life. This paper argues that it is possible to balance this right with the drug free values and protection of youth promoted in our society while still permitting drug testing at music festivals.
Keywords: Drug and Pill Testing, Music Festivals, Harm Reduction, Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, Right not to be deprived of life
JEL Classification: K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation