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Woman In Critical Condition Following Suspected Drug Overdose At Juicy Fest

15 January 2024 | 2:52 pm | Jessie Lynch

A female in her late teens was also taken to the hospital but is currently in a stable condition.

Juicy Fest

Juicy Fest (Supplied)

Amid growing concerns over drug-related incidents at music festivals, a woman in her 30s is in critical condition after a suspected drug overdose at the Juicy Fest music festival in Melbourne over the weekend.

The incident occurred just a week after a mass overdose at Transmission, also held in Melbourne.

Ambulance Victoria confirmed that the woman, who was treated for suspected substance abuse at the Flemington Showgrounds, has been transported to the Royal Melbourne Hospital in a critical condition.

Additionally, a female in her late teens was also taken to the hospital for suspected substance abuse but is currently in stable condition. A man in his 30s was assessed, but emergency transport or treatment was not required.

A 26-year-old Sydenham man and a 28-year-old Reservoir man were also both charged with drug offences at the event.

A police spokesperson has said that despite the arrests, Victoria Police were happy with the behaviour of punters.

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“(We) would like to thank attendees for heeding the advice regarding heat-related distress and safety,” they said.

This year’s edition of the festival has already been fraught with controversy, facing lineup dramas just hours before the tour kicked off, and devolving into a mess of arrests and gang presence at the Wellington, New Zealand date.

Before the Melbourne leg of the festival, Victoria Police revealed last week that the event would see a larger police presence as they ramped up drug-busting efforts to curb punters taking in illicit substances.

“Victoria Police will not tolerate any behaviour that compromises the public’s safety and will also have an increased presence at a music festival this week in Flemington on 12 January,” a police spokeswoman said prior to the festival (January 9), per The Age.

“Police want people to have a good time and attendees should watch out for their mates to ensure everyone has a safe festival experience, and for anyone intending to take illicit drugs, we simply say, ‘Don’t do it.’”

Juicy Fest also warned festival goers of the increased security measures, saying, “Security staff are entitled to search; pat down or metal detect any patron upon entry. Any person not compliant will be refused entry or removed from the event without refund.”

“Vic Police, Security, Safety and Venue staff will be on-site throughout the day to assist.

“Medical crews consisting of paramedics and first responders will be present inside the Grand Pavilion to attend to any health issues you may have, whether it’s a band aid, sunscreen or something more ominous.”

Following recent festival overdoses, key political figures have reignited the debate on whether pill testing should be implemented at festivals on a wide scale; Queensland and the ACT are leading the pack when it comes to trialling pill testing initiatives, which aim to reduce harm by allowing punters to have illicit substances analysed before being taken (without judgement from those involved or risk of punishment).

While pill testing has proven to be an effective method of harm reduction, Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan is staunchly against it. “If people are concerned about substances, don’t consume it. There’s a personal responsibility here as well,” she said.

“That’s the way to stay out of hospital, that’s how to stay out of the intensive care ward, is to not take substances in the first place.”

Greens leader Aiv Puglielli (who also works as the party’s spokesman for drug harm reduction) fought back against Allan’s sentiment. He argued that VicPol’s plan to increase the presence of police and sniffer dogs, but not even humour the concept of pill testing, was “a pathetic response” and “the exact opposite of what we should be doing to protect young Victorians”.

Juicy Fest Dates:

Christchurch: Queen Elizabeth Park - 3 Jan 
Wellington: Hutt Park - 5 Jan 
Tauranga: Bay Park - 6 Jan 
Auckland: North Harbour Stadium - 7 Jan 
Melbourne: Showgrounds - 12 Jan 
Sydney: Accor Stadium - 13 Jan 
Perth: Fremantle Oval - 14 Jan 
Canberra: Stage 88 - 19 Jan 
Gold Coast: Doug Jennings Park - 20 Jan