Watch: Boomtown on drugs – the harm reduction story

Boomtown has created a short 15 minute documentary candidly discussing the dangers of drugs and openly addressing the issues drugs can cause at the festival, as well as in wider society.

In addition to enforcing legislation, this year Boomtown ‘put their head above the parapet’ and led a major drug awareness and safety drive, implementing a variety of harm reduction, education and awareness measures to inform and safeguard those in attendance.

It feels like a huge evolution in the festival world, all of a sudden things are stepping up and we’re progressing.

Along with representatives from Boomtown, the documentary features a range of opinions and experiences from experts and influencers, including; Professor Fiona Measham, Director of harm reduction drug testing service The Loop, Director of Chill Welfare Katy Mcloud, Ed Morrow from Royal Society of Public Health England, as well as musician and key spokesman for Boomtown’s harm reduction campaign, Beans on Toast.

In the UK, drug related deaths are at at their highest rates on record, ever. This isn’t just a problem for Boomtown or just for festivals, this is  the situation right across the country.

However, the most powerful and poignant voices in this open and, on occasion, painfully honest film are that of Ellie Rowe’s family. Ellie Rowe, 18,  died at the festival in 2013 after mixing a small amount of alcohol with a small amount of high purity Ketamine.

Ellie’s mum, Wendy Teasdill, along with her sisters, Iona and Belinda Rowe and Ellie’s Godmother, Saskia Kent, all returned to give a talk in the festival’s Speakers’ Corner tent for the second year running.

They expressed their support for the services and measures implemented at Boomtown, significantly The Loop’s drug testing and harm reduction intervention service: We don’t know what we don’t know; Ellie didn’t know how strong that ketamine was, she didn’t know that the ketamine and the alcohol was a possible lethal combination.

The wide ranging measures put in place to keep drugs out of the festival as well as to keep people safe and aware, had many positive effects to the festival environment; following the harm reduction intervention from The Loop, 44% of customers said they would reduce their dose or discard their drugs and the festival as a whole saw a 25% reduction in drug related medical incidents.

Boomtown are committed to spreading awareness and education on the dangers that drug experimentation can pose. This short film sums up all the effort that goes into to keeping people safe and providing them with the tools to make informed and educated decisions.