Premier To Shut Down Defqon Festival After Two Die, 13 Hospitalised
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has vowed to shut down the festival altogether.
Two people have died and another two are critically ill in hospital after multiple suspected overdoses at Sydney music festival Defqon.1.
A man, 23, and a woman, 21, collapsed at the festival in Castlereagh about 9pm on Saturday and died a short time later in nearby Nepean hospital, police said on Sunday.
A Jamisontown woman, 26, remains in a critical condition at Nepean hospital while an Artarmon man, 19, was flown to Westmead Hospital and is in intensive care.
Police said another 13 people went to hospital for drug-related issues while about 700 people sought assistance from medical staff at the festival.
Berejiklian Vows To Shut Down Festival
Defqon.1 organisers released a statement saying they were "deeply saddened" by the passing of the two young people.
"Thoughts and prayers are also with the young man and woman who are still in a critical condition," the statement read.
"We are disappointed at the number of reported drug related incidents, we have a zero-tolerance policy in relation to drug use at the festival."
Festival organisers had also warned ticket holders of the zero-tolerance policy prior to the event on their website.
"This means that all types of soft- and hard drugs are prohibited. If drugs are found, you will be handed over to the police," a statement on the festival's website said.
But NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian believes this warning wasn't enough and has vowed to shut down the festival to protect young people.
"There is no such thing as a safe drug," Berejiklian said.
“We will do everything we can to shut this down, I don’t want to see this event happen again.
“I’m absolutely aghast at what’s occurred. I don’t want any family to go through the tragedy that some families are waking up to this morning, it’s just horrible to think about.
Police Warn Festival-Goers Not To Take 'Dangerous' Substances
In total, 69 people were found in possession of drugs at the festival and 10 of these were charged with drug supply offences. One person was allegedly found with 300 pills in their possession, while two 17-year-old girls allegedly carried 120 capsules "internally" into the venue.
"It just shows the extent that people will try to take to take drugs into these venues," Acting Assistant Commissioner Allan Sicard told reporters on Sunday.
"We do everything we possible can to make these events safe, what we can't do is be in to people's heads into people's decision making processes when they decide to take illicit drugs."
Sicard said the problem with taking illicit drugs at music festivals is that the contents of the substances cannot be ascertained.
"Illicit drugs are illicit and our message from the NSW police is do not take them because they are a dangerous substances to take and we have witnessed what the consequences of those actions can be."
About 20 detectives were allocated to manage the festival and now local detectives have formed a new police strikeforce, dubbed Highworth, to investigate the two deaths.
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