Rebecca Hannibal pleaded guilty yesterday to supplying her friend Georgina Bartter with the ecstasy pills that led to an allergic reaction and her eventual death. Hannibal took the pills at last November’s Harbourlife festival, joining the thousands of Australians each year who take drugs at music festivals.

Drug culture continues to proliferate in Australia, with drug taking appearing to be most prevalent at the many festivals held annually throughout the country. UOW student Ana is one of the many who partake in drug taking at every festival she attends.

“I honestly look forward to it, a lot of people see festivals now as just a day to do drugs and a lot of the time I just go for that happy atmosphere rather than the bands or the music,” she said. Two years ago Ana received ecstasy from a friend for Future Music Festival causing some sort of reaction and her eventual hospitalisation.

“It was pretty bad, I punctured my lip from chewing it so much and then had to go to hospital to get my stomach pumped,” she said. “There wasn’t any legal trouble but my parents were pretty furious.”

Despite this scare, Ana continues to take drugs at festivals, calling into question why so many festival goers continue to take this risk.

Not only does drug taking at festivals come with health risks, carrying drugs into festivals is illegal, with hundreds of people being arrested each year. The police struggle to keep up with the new and inventive ways festival goers use in order to smuggle drugs into festivals. While controversial, sniffer dogs remain the method police most use to catch festival drug smugglers, an experience had last year by local Wollongong girl Jenna. Caught with two pills at Stereosonic’s 2014 festival, Jenna had to attend court for the possession and was sentenced to a two year good behaviour bond.

“It pretty much ruined my life, I’d never done it before so I was already so nervous about it,” she said. “I worked in a government job so I was fired from that because I wasn’t allowed to have a criminal record.”

“I definitely learnt my lesson.”

High drink prices at festivals used to be blamed for the huge drug culture at festivals, however it’s becoming more and more evident that festivals and drug taking are an inseparable pair.

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