Drug Testing @ EP22

Help Not Harm
3 min readAug 18, 2022


Welfare Training in Cork, July 2022

“Surrender bins” will be available at the upcoming Electric Picnic music and arts festival, legally permitting festival goers to have their drugs tested free of charge for the first time.

Our 80 people strong our team consists of medical doctors, nurses, therapists, psychologists, scientists, firefighters, lifeguards, barristers, workers in social care, charities and the public sector from each end of the spectrum. These remarkable professionals are giving their services in a voluntary capacity in their commitment to bring there if their services are required. Our work would not be possible without the commitment made by these dedicated professionals.

In 2016 Help Not Harm recognised the importance of providing 24-hour drug welfare in Ireland. Our initiative helped shape the design of the festival to be a safe sesh enjoyed by all, where you can safely seek our services.

We have come a long way from the 24 volunteers that gathered in Stradbally 6-years ago where Help Not Harm created this service with a discussion on the importance of safe drug testing. From these beginnings, we are recognised as providing a unique and important service supported by the HSE and An Garda Síochána.

As part of our recommendations made to Festival Republic, two new staff roles have been created. The Safeguarding Coordinators will assist in coordinating the various service providers to ensure people are safe.

Kosmicare Drop-in Service, Lisbon (Portugal)

Our research in this area has shown the importance of this harm reduction service, particularly through the Portuguese programme, as part of the global Support Don’t Punish campaign.

“Providing a facility to test drugs at music festivals is nothing new. Boom festival in Portugal began in 1998 and decriminalisation made it possible for harm reduction services to operate without impunity from the law.” Director, Graham de Barra

Drug testing began at Boom festival over 20 yrs ago

“We hope this will be the start to normalising drug testing at other festivals in the future”.

Beware: We have been informed by our colleagues in the HSE and Garda Síochána there will be no guarantee amnesty from arrest for using the surrender bin.

See you at Stradbally and even if you don’t require welfare support be sure to drop-in a sample anonymously for the first ever Government collected drug-testing database at a festival in Ireland.

“Working at Boomtown in the UK back in 2017 during the introduction of drug testing there were some teething problems. On the first night I encountered two undercover police lingering outside behind our tent. We recommend to only carry what you will dispose in the bin and have nothing on your possession when you leave our care. Overall this will be a learning opportunity for other service providers”.

Be safe, look after each other, ensure you arrange meeting points in case you are separated and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you ever need it. We are there to serve you.

The safeguarding coordinator staff members are Dawn Russell and HuiChi Man who will overlook your safety at the festival.

Our contact is below for all queries.


Making Drugs a Health Issue, EP 2016



Help Not Harm

Help Not Harm is a campaign supporting a shift of drugs from criminal justice to public health to improve access to harm reduction, education and treatment.