Pukkelpop festival to offer on-site drug testing

Pukkelpop festival to offer on-site drug testing
Pukkelpop festival grounds in 2015. Credit: Pukkelpop Festival.

Attendants at Pukkelpop music festival can have their drugs tested on-site without fearing legal retribution if they start feeling ill, following a measure announced by local authorities to prevent serious incidents on-site.

The mayor of Hasselt, where the festival is being held, is looking to put up a medical post for drug testing, all the while warning that this is not an encouragement to bring illicit substances into the festival grounds, according to VTM.

"This really only applies to people who encounter medical problems," Mayor Steven Vandeput said. "Anyone who thinks they have become ill after taking a pill can go to the medical post. There they can have their drugs tested without fears of the police."

"This is not meant for people who just want to have their supply of drugs tested. We really have to be careful that this is not the message," Vandeput said.

The initiative comes as both officials and organisers work to avoid a Tomorrowland scenario, after a man at the start of the summer died on the grounds of the electronic music festival, in an incident attributed to drugs.

Echoing warnings from the mayor, Pukkelpop organisers said that the presence of a medical post did not mean that the festival's ban on drugs was lifted.

To enforce it, organisers said police presence would be increased during the festival, and that checks would be carried out thoroughly.

Pukkelpop festival is set to kick off on Thursday and last through Sunday, 18 August.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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