Music Festival Event Managers, are we turning a blind eye to this growing epidemic?
5th November 2018
Since 2015, there has been a 108% increase in reports of drink spiking to UK police forces.
How aware of the growing phenomenon surrounding drinks being spiked with drugs at festivals are you?
Your Duty of Care
It is your moral and legal duty to ensure events are made safe as possible to all those present. As an organiser of events it is your responsibility to ensure that safety is maintained. It is essential to have appropriate management systems in place to assure health and safety risks are controlled. By not being aware of the dangers of drink spiking at music festivals, are you putting your attendees in danger?
It Is not all doom and gloom!
Here are 3 ways you can help prevent drink spiking at your events…
How can we help ourselves?
Detection Kits: Drink Detective kits have now become wildly available so that if your attendees feel at risk and believe they have had their drinks spiked, they are able to test their drink at the time. The Undercover Colours is real time test, which works within 30 seconds so that guests are able test for Xanax, Valium and Flunitrazepam which are the most common drugs used to spike drinks. These tests however do come at a cost. It is the events managers decision to decide, how to integrate the cost into the music festival. One way of doing is selling them along side the drinks cost, or alternative a convert method is to include the kits in with the ticket price, so that they can be given out freely at the event. For more information on Detective Kits: Click Here.
KnoNap: The KnoNap is a more discreet testing method which is being developed. The napkin will change colour if drugs are found present in a drink. This is a subtle way for attendees to check their drinks if they are being watched by the perpetrator. By supplying the KnoNap as an alternative to the cocktail napkin you are automatically making your attendees feel safer at your festival. Use this link to find out more.
In the hands of the festival event planners!
Training: As a festival manager you need to ensure that your staff receive specific training in order to help reduce risk. With your staff being more vigilant and aware of the signs (please see attached), actions can be taken earlier to reduce the harm to the individual. You have both a moral and legal duty of care for all attendees to ensure appropriate measures are in place to protect all guest’s safety. It is essential to have appropriate management systems in place to assure health and safety risks are controlled.
Signs that an individual has been spiked:
*Nausea and vomiting
*Loss of Inhibitions
*Loss of consciousness
Why is this important?
I experienced being spiked at a music festival in Thailand in the summer of 2018. This was a scary experience for me, especially since I was in a foreign country. I was lucky that I had my friend with me, who took me away from the crowds and was able to look after me to ensure I was safe. I was taken to the toilets and by this point I started to hyperventilate and had no control of my own body. I am lucky that I had my friend with me, who realised something was not right and that my demeanour had changed. If it was not for her, the situation may have escalated and turned into something fatal. Although, she was able to help me my friend was not fully prepared of the correct procedures to take when you find someone in this situation.
In cases like this I feel that it is important for people to be educated and aware of circumstances that could occur unexpectedly. Having sufficient training for all staff at an event could help with noticing signs of unusual behaviour caused from spiked drinks, rather than those have consumed a high volume of alcohol. It would be beneficial for staff to learn how to prevent this situation from happening and the actions that follow.
I also believe it is important to put testing methods into practice such as the Detective Kits and KnoNap. If this would have been available at the festival I attended, I could have self-tested my drink when one was given to me or when I put it down. This will be beneficial for both the safety of attendees and the event’s reputation, as having these prevention methods and guidelines in place, could reassure those in the future attending your event.
What should you do if you believe someone has been spiked?
Being aware of the steps to take when you notice an attendee in danger is just as important as preventing the incident in the first place. Please see the below steps which will help educate you in the correct procedure, which should be taken if you expect a guests has had there drink spiked at your festival.
Step 1– Recognize the symptoms
Step 2– Get to a safe place
Step 3– Get trusted help
Step 4- Find the public services (ambulance, emergency room or police)
Step 5– Have trusted company at all times
Have we done enough?
The knowledge and awareness of drink spiking at festivals have increased over recent years, but so has the number of reported cases. By putting these solutions into action are we creating a safer environment for festival attendees?
Do you believe that the financial cost should be the organisations or the attendees?
Is staff training alongside the training methods beneficial?
Do you think your staff would be able to distinguish an attendee who has had there drink spiked?
In you opinion what other methods could help prevent drinks being spiked at music festival?