LEEDS, UK (CelebrityAccess) — Organizers for the Leeds Festival, were forced to postpone plans to allow drug testing at the event, claiming that the Leeds City Council failed to offer 'sufficient support' for the plan.
According to Metro, the testing stations, run by drugs safety charity The Loop, would have allowed festival-goers to have their illicit drugs field tested to verify the strength and contents of the substance. The Loop would destroy any drugs given to them for testing purposes after the test is conducted.
Melvin Benn, director of Leeds organizer Festival Republic, told UK newspaper The Gazette that the city council refused to back the testing plan because they did not feel The Loop's testing standards weren't up to snuff.
"They felt the testing wasn’t up to the standard that they wanted it to be. They are not closed to the idea and we’ll revisit with them in the future and I hope that I’ll be able to bring it forward but I’m not ready to bring it forward yet," Benn said.
A subsequent statement released by the city council noted that The Loop had not submitted a formal application to conduct testing at the event.
“Leeds City Council did not refuse to support drugs testing facilities being made available at this year’s Leeds Festival.
“The idea was discussed with Festival Republic by a group that advises on safety at public events, comprising the council, police and other partners such as third sector agencies. Everyone including Festival Republic had a chance to speak and a wide range of views were expressed.
“This is not a decision making body, and Festival Republic said they would take into account what had been said before deciding on whether to submit a formal application. A decision was subsequently taken by Festival Republic to not move ahead with the plan.
Proponents of on-site drug testing at events believe that the program reduces overdose deaths from overly potent drugs and health issues caused by unwanted adulterants. Critics claim that such testing is a tacit approval of illicit drugs and encourages their use.
Melvin Benn, director of Festival Republic behind Leeds Festival, told the Press Association: ‘They aren’t going to stop buying it because the testing isn’t there, the testing will just mean that they know what they’ve got.’