Mass gatherings ban means revellers won't overdose at festivals says Cork addiction service worker

Mass gatherings ban means revellers won't overdose at festivals says Cork addiction service worker

THE lives of some festival revellers could be saved this summer because of the ban on mass gatherings, including festivals.

That is according to the head of addictions services for Cork and Kerry, David Lane.

Mr Lane was speaking as several festivals were cancelled after the government's ban on mass gatherings of more than 5,000 people until the autumn.

He said: "The sadness is that people have overdosed at festivals in the past and there are probably a number of people's lives that are going to be saved by this decision."

But he said: "These events are critically important in terms of the social fabric. However, there are a couple of families who will have their child with them because that child will not be attending a festival this year."

The Indiependence Music Festival in Mitchelstown, due to take place on July 31, August 1 and August 2, has been cancelled. The All Together Now festival due to take place on the same dates in Waterford has also fallen foul of the mass gatherings ban.

An announcement regarding Live at the Marquee is expected tomorrow afternoon.

The Body and Soul Festival due to take place in Westmeath in June has also been cancelled.

A decision on whether Electric Picnic will go ahead on September 4 to 6 will be made after May 5.

Prior to last year's Electric Picnic, the HSE issued a warning to revellers about being careful if taking drugs.

Last year, Clonmel teenager Jack Downey died after taking a substance at the Indiependence Music Festival in Mitchelstown. And a few weeks later, four people – in their late teens and early 20s – were treated in hospital after becoming ill after taking substances at the Charlie Chaplin festival in Waterville in Kerry.

Nicole Ryan from Millstreet has been a harm reduction advocate since the death of her brother Alex four years ago, after he consumed the synthetic drug, N-bomb, at a party in Cork city. She has set up an education programme for schools around drugs, called Alex's Adventure.

She said: "Given the situation with Covid-19 even though most things are on lockdown sadly the drug trade does not stop. There are new drugs arriving at an unprecedented rate in Ireland that it’s difficult to keep up with the trends. We need to continue to make people aware of the dangers and keep educating even through these difficult times."

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