Experts warn of drug risks ahead of festival season

JOSHUA WELLS

Festival season is underway but Sydney’s Harbourlife festival has been overshadowed by the death of 19-year old Georgina Bartter.

She collapsed at the festival and died from a suspected adverse reaction to drugs, dying in St Vincent’s Hospital on Saturday.

According to friends, Ms Bartter took a combination of drugs at the event with her friends telling police she had taken one and a half pills.

Experts are warning the drugs may not be the only factor involved in the tragic deaths of young Australians.

Ecstasy in capsule form. Photo: commons.wikimedia.org

Ecstasy in capsule form. Photo: commons.wikimedia.org

Curtin University’s National Drug Research Institute Director Professor Steve Allsop said that young people need to be aware of the risks.

“What might be [in the drug] varies. Even if you were taking pure ecstasy there are still risks,” he said.

Prof. Allsop said young people underestimate the risks with the justification that, if their peers consumed drugs with no ill-effect, the risks are negligible.

But Prof. Allsop warned of the dangers of drug inconsistency.

“These drugs change from batch to batch and the drugs themselves have a number of impacts on your body.

“The easiest way to avoid risk is to not take them…if someone gets in trouble, seek help immediately, often they think I don’t want to get them in trouble, but the longer you delay, the worse it will get.”

Festival season is just around the corner for Brisbane with Stereosonic the next to launch at the RNA Showgrounds on December 6 and 7.

End of year celebrations will kick off on November 22 when Schoolies commences, with Gold Coast’s Surfers Paradise again hosting the official event.

Australian support group Red Frogs will again offer assistance for intoxicated people.

Red Frogs’ Schoolies and Education co-ordinator Grant Gehrke said that the organisation will continue to do what they do for young people attending these events.

“We are going to do what we always do and conduct education in schools,” he said.

“We aim to be a positive peer presence so we can help before people make poor choices.

“Look after your mates.”

 

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