Both the Victoria Police and Rainbow Serpent’s devoted regulars were VERY disappointed with one aspect of this year’s festival: The reckless use of drugs.
Today Acting Superintendent Graham Banks said in a media statement about Rainbow Serpent 2018 that it was concerning to see so many people making dangerous choices at the festival, despite repeated warnings from police.
The crime count from the festival so far is as follows:
• 2 sexual assaults
• 5 people arrested for possessing drugs
• 1 person arrested for trafficking drugs
• 2 people arrested for being drunk
• 1 drunk driver
• 44 people tested positive for drug driving
• 5 evictions
“Every year police deal with serious crimes such as sexual assaults and drug trafficking at this event,” said Attending Superintendent Banks.
“We also saw far too many people making dangerous and illegal choices by getting behind the wheel when they were either drug or alcohol affected.
This sentiment was echoed by the doofing community, who reported an unprecedented number of GHB “blowouts” and messy dance floors (literally and figuratively) at the festival.
Some, however, have blamed the spike in GHB use on the police presence itself, with many punters choosing to use the drug because it can be easily concealed in a water bottle and they believe police dogs cannot smell it.
When Dreamland contacted Victoria Police for comment on whether police dogs or drug test kits could detect GHB, a spokesperson said he “cannot comment on police methodology”.
He then went on to say, “I’ve dealt with plenty of people on it [GHB] and, it’s the most bizarre behaviour you’ll ever see.”
“People look like they’re talking in other languages, they’re hallucinating, and then they fall asleep just like that. Then, they wake back up and are straight back into this weird, irrational behaviour again.”
“I don’t know why people are messing with this drug if you take too much of it you stop breathing and die.”
While the presence of GHB at the festival was undeniable, many have questioned what the official figures released by the police really mean.
VICE writer and drug law reform activist Nevena Spirovska declared that:
“These figures need a little bit of perspective. Rainbow Serpent is a five-day festival attended by 20,000 people. Of these punters, 0.025 percent were pulled up on drug possessions, 0.005 percent for drug trafficking. RBTs busted 0.005 percent of attendees for drunk driving, and 0.22 percent from “drug” driving.”
This assertion fails to take into account that not all attendees were tested, and it’s safe to say Nevena’s calculations are a misleading representation of the statistics given by police. A better representation of the figures would include the drunk and drug driving statistics as a percentage of many people were actually tested, not how many attended the festival.
Other punters did, however, make a good point when they said those tested for drugs may not have been under the influence, but merely were booked for having traces of drugs in their systems.
The lack of an influence threshold continues to be a hot topic among the doofing community, and will remain so until the legal grey area is settled once and for all in Australian court.