NSW Police are “disappointed” after 221 Stereosonic festivalgoers were charged with drug offences in Sydney over the weekend, and say one man is lucky to be alive after collapsing at the festival.
In a press release, NSW Police say that more than 830 of the roughly 81,000 people who attended the Sydney leg of Stereosonic at Sydney Olympic Park were searched during a police operation involving drug-detection dogs. Of those more than 830 punters, 196 were found in possession of prohibited drugs, including cocaine, cannabis, MDMA, GHB and Ketamine.
Of those 196, Police charged 13 with supply and handed 14 people cannabis cautions. Officers who patrolled public transport to and from Stereosonic also charged 38 individuals with possession and one with supply.
On Saturday, a 21-year-old man was charged with drug supply after police caught him at Stereosonic with a bag containing 87 pills, which were reportedly ecstasy. Police say the man was taken to Burwood Police Station, and was granted conditional bail to appear in Burwood Local Court in February.
NSW Police said 13 people were taken to hospital at the Sydney leg of Stereosonic, largely for drug-related ailments. Another 21-year-old man, who was found not breathing at the festival, was taken to Concord Hospital in a serious but stable condition, and has since been released.
Backed by these figures, NSW Police have warned of the unknown effects of illegal drugs. The South West Metropolitan Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Frank Mennilli, has said, “With more than 220 revellers being charged with drug-related incidents, and one man lucky to be alive, it is distressing that people continue to risk their lives by ingesting unknown substances.
“We do not apologise for targeting illegal drugs, because they pose a very real health risk and can prove lethal… These operations are not about us being the fun police. They’re about us making sure revellers can have a good time in a safe, secure and drug-free environment.”
Stereosonic 2014 has now passed through Sydney and Perth, and will arrive in Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane this weekend.