Rabbits Eat Lettuce first QLD festival with pill testing

RABBITS Eat Lettuce was the first Queensland music festival to have a multi-day pill testing service over the past Easter weekend, attracting 257 attendees to test their pills.

The service aimed to reduce harm to festival goers who chose to take drugs at the popular festival, and offered information about the danger of drug use to them.

This reportedly made festival goers reconsider or take less of the substances they had originally planned to take.

The new initiative is free, voluntary and confidential.

It involves the testing of substances a person is intending to use, providing a health intervention that aims to change a person’s behaviour, and reduce their risk of harms associated with illicit drug use.

The average age of patrons who visited the service at the festival were between 28-30 years old.

Initial data analysis shows that out of the 210 samples provided for testing at the festival by qualified chemists, approximately 14 samples were discarded at the pill testing service.

The most common substances presented for testing included MDMA and ketamine.

Some higher-risk substances were identified including Dimethylpentylone (a synthetic cathinone) and 2-fluoro-2-oxo-phenylcyclohexylethylamine, which were both mis-sold as other substances. The latter was detected for the first time in Australia by the CanTEST drug checking service in Canberra.    

A fixed site service is earmarked to commence in mid-April in Brisbane and will be delivered by a partnership of service providers. A second fixed site will be determined through co-design processes with people with lived experience.