Today, the NSW government announced their new push to reduce drug-related deaths at festivals. Gladys Berejiklian‘s solution? Amnesty bins, where people who have brought drugs into a festival can bin them “without fear of persecution or penalty”.

The move comes in response to the Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame‘s recommendations from last month, which stressed that pill testing and the abolishment of sniffer dogs were the best courses of action in reducing drug-related festival deaths.

She made the suggestions as a move to prevent “panic ingestion”, where punters take their entire drug stash to avoid getting caught by the cops.

Instead of following this actual expert’s advice, the Gladys Berejiklian government decided the best possible move in preventing drug-related festival deaths is… drug amnesty bins.

“The recent deaths at music festivals are tragic reminders of the dangers of illegal drugs,” Gladys said. We will continue to send the strong message that drugs can and do kill. Amnesty bins will provide a quick and easy way for music festivalgoers to discard their drugs – no questions asked.”


No specifics have been supplied by the NSW government as yet about their new amnesty bins. What we do know is if you bin your drugs in one of them, you should be free from prosecution.

“We want people to use these amnesty bins for illegal drugs and enjoy their time at music festivals,” Minister For Police David Elliott said. “The bins give an opportunity to discard dangerous substances without fear of prosecution.”

If these bins are, say, set up at the entrance and you get caught with drugs on you, and you have the option to bin them without prosecution, this could be a good – if not a strong enough – move in the fight to end drug-related festival deaths. After all, you’d be less likely to ingest a bunch of pills in a panic if you knew you could safely bin them should you get caught at the gates.

But if these are simply bins that punters can go to if they ~feel like it~ to drop their stash, it’s the most fucking ridiculous, out-of-touch move I’ve ever heard of.

For starters, no one is going to spend their hard-earned cash on drugs – which are expensive – only to suddenly realise part-way through a festival because, what, they saw an anti-drugs poster, that they in fact don’t want to take the drugs anymore and are going to be a Good Little Wholesome Youth and bin their pills. It is simply not going to happen.

Even if it did happen – if miraculously this weak effort from the NSW government saw a drastic reduction in drug use at festivals, it’s not going to help with drug-related deaths at all. Because Gladys, hun – THIS COUNTRY ISN’T GOING TO STOP TAKING DRUGS. It’s just not going to happen – no amount of sniffer dog presence, police presence, or spate of deaths will stop young people experimenting. They could put one cop on every person that walks into a festival and people would STILL find ways to do drugs, because you simply can’t scare people into avoiding drugs altogether, and therefore you’ll still see drug-related deaths at festivals.

Which is why everyone with half a brain is screaming at our government to look into harm minimisation instead. But the Gladys Berejiklian government keeps ignoring us all, and I truly hope it’s because they are being ignorant fuckheads who need to wake the hell up and start looking at the issue through the lens of young people, not as old people who like to read with their cats on a Saturday night. Because the only other option I can see is that they don’t give a flying shit about young people dying, and they just want to appease other boomers who have no idea what it’s like to be young anymore, and won’t accept anything less than fear-based policing when it comes to drugs.

This is embarrassing, Gladys, and your entire government should feel embarrassed.