A 20-year-old man has died following a suspected drug overdose at the Beyond The Valley festival at Lardner southeast of Melbourne.
- Two other men have been hospitalised after suspected drug overdoses at the same festival
- Another man died in hospital on Saturday after taking an unknown substance at the Lost Paradise festival in NSW
- The Falls Festival warned its patrons of a dangerous orange pill in circulation nationally
The man, from Mansfield in Victoria’s northeast, was flown to hospital on Saturday night in a critical condition but died this morning, Victoria Police said in a statement.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman said investigators were yet to determine the circumstances surrounding the man’s death, but it was “not being treated as suspicious”.
The spokeswoman said police could not provide further comment on the case as it was before the coroner.
The death follows a series of suspected drug overdoses at music festivals around the nation.
Two other men have been hospitalised in recent days after suspected drug overdoses at the Beyond The Valley festival, which was held in parklands in Gippsland more than 100 kilometres southeast of Melbourne.
On New Year’s Eve, a 21-year-old man was treated by paramedics at the festival and flown to the Royal Melbourne Hospital in a critical condition.
The man’s condition was listed as stable this afternoon.
Early on Sunday morning, paramedics were called to the festival where they treated a 20-year-old man from Mitcham in Melbourne’s east.
That man was taken to Dandenong Hospital in a critical condition, but he has since been discharged.
The Beyond The Valley festival has been contacted for comment.
The death follows that of another man who died after taking an unknown substance at the Lost Paradise music festival, west of Gosford in New South Wales.
The 22-year-old man, from the Brisbane suburb of Toowong, died in Gosford Hospital on Saturday night after attending the Glenworth Valley event.
Another man and a woman were hospitalised after they also took an unknown substance at the same festival and became sick.
Deaths reignite debate about pill testing
Organisers of the Falls Festival — which was being held over the New Year period at Marion Bay in Tasmania, Byron Bay in NSW and Lorne on Victoria’s Surf Coast, and will be held in Fremantle in Western Australia on the weekend — sent a message to patrons on Sunday warning them of a “dangerous orange pill” in circulation across Australia.
“Regardless of pill variation, we want to remind everyone of the potentially fatal risks that come with illicit substances,” the festival said in a statement.
“You do not know what is in them, how your body will react, there is no safe level of consumption. One pill can kill.”
The drug deaths have sparked a national debate about pill testing, with advocates renewing calls for such services to be allowed in order to minimise risks.
Australia’s first pill-testing trial was held at the Groovin the Moo festival in Canberra in April, but both the NSW and Victorian Governments are opposed to the idea.
A Victorian Government spokesperson described Tuesday’s death as a “tragedy” but said the Government had no plans to allow pill testing, as Victoria Police had advised that the practice could give people a “false, and potentially fatal, sense of security about illicit drugs”.
NSW Labor leader Michael Daley has said his party would be open to exploring pill testing if it wins the March state election.
Meanwhile, artists and DJs playing the summer festival circuit have expressed support for pill testing.
ARIA award-winning singer Amy Shark said pill testing should be available.
“I don’t take drugs so it’s hard for me to truly grasp this, but if my friend was 100 per cent committed to taking an illegal pill and I couldn’t talk them out of their decision, yes I would like them to have the option to test it,” she said.
DJ CC:Disco, who performed at Lost Paradise last night, said authorities should accept that people would take drugs and take measures to reduce harm.
“Let’s be honest — this isn’t the first generation to take drugs,” she said.
“People need to know what they took, and this comes from pill testing. This can actually save lives.”