Coroner's Inquest To Investigate Music Festival Drug Deaths
The NSW coroner will hold an inquest into a spate of drug-related deaths at music festivals this summer, as calls grow for the government to approve a pill testing trial.
A directions hearing will be held at the state coroner's court next Tuesday.
The inquest will examine the deaths of five people at NSW music festivals since September -- at the Defqon 1 event, the Knockout Games of Destiny, Lost Paradise, and FOMO festival.
The deaths of Diana Nguyen, Joseph Nguyen Nhu Binh Pham, Callum Brosnan, Joshua Tam and Alexandra Ross-King throughout the festival season period have seen mounting public pressure for the NSW government to approve a trial of pill testing.
Drug experts, festival organisers, and some of the families of those who have died at the events have pleaded with the state government to allow a trial.
"I just don't want this to go, just pass by. I'd like this to have some legacy, and that is to get these pills tested," Alex Ross-King's grandmother, Denise Doig, told 10 News First.
"The reason I want the pills tested is, we're not stopping them from being out there," she continued.
"Premier, please: can we have this pill testing done. It's such a small thing to do, it's not hard. Let's try and get it out there.
The coronial investigation was announced the same day that the upcoming Ultra Music Festival, to be held in Sydney and Melbourne in late February, said it would ask both state governments to allow it to hold a pill testing trial.
The Australian Festival Association -- with members including Laneway, Splendour In The Grass, Listen Out and Groovin The Moo festivals -- also last week called for pill testing as part of a "broader harm reduction strategy".
Also on Tuesday, a Guardian-Essential poll found 63 percent of people, in a 1000-person sample, supported a model where counsellors provide risk-reduction advice.