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

See all articles by Mackenzie Morrison

Mackenzie Morrison

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni

Date Written: September 2, 2019

Abstract

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

Morrison, Mackenzie, 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 (September 2, 2019). Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper No. 14/2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3574343 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3574343

Mackenzie Morrison (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, Victoria 6140
New Zealand

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