Sunday, June 10, 2007

Making music festivals drug free...yeah, right!

So apparently the police are trying to crack down on drug use at the Isle of Wight festival. The local force has worked for months on an operation which will "deter hardened drug addicts and criminals from attending the family event". They will be armed not only with sniffer dogs, but also with social workers who will be giving the drug users on-site counselling straight after their arrest. What a load of crap!

As a person who's used a fair amount of illegal substances in the past (not these days, I'm as healthy living as they come now), I can tell you that this approach will not do any good. Kids will find ways to get drugs on to the festival site anyhow & listening to a social worker preaching about the dangers of drug use will-yes of course-be a total come-down, but probably not have any lasting effect.

I can tell you now that most drug-takers do not see themselves as 'hardened drug addicts or criminals' & being treated like that just makes them feel that 'us against them' feeling, that feeling that those in power (police, social workers, etc.) do not understand them in the slightest. These 'hardened drug addicts' are simply someones daughter, someones son, your next-door neighbour, the girl at the back of the class...they are just normal kids and most of the time they grow out of their rebellious stage. No one can tell them to change their ways until they are ready to do so.

In Holland we used to have a support system set up at festivals for those on drugs who wanted it. I'm not sure if that program is still going. It was a stand where you could get advice, sometimes you were even able to get your E tested on purity, and you did not risk getting arrested in the process. An approach like that can actually safe lives. Because nobody wants to get judged, patronized or risk arrest. So if someone on drugs is having a problem at a festival you want them to come forward and not hide away in the dark, afraid of 'getting caught'.

Anyway, I hope that the festival-where Snow Patrol played on Friday & Muse and the Rolling Stones headline the remainder of this weekend-will not be any less fun because of it.

Party on!