Five revellers are fighting for life after being rushed to hospital from Sydney’s Ultra Festival with suspected drug overdoses.
Daily Mail Australia attended the electronic music event at Parramatta Park in Sydney’s west on Sunday, with dozens of partygoers speaking openly about the use of the narcotics – and the bold ways they sneak them past the gate.
Five people aged in their 20s and 30s, as well as a teenage girl, were in critical conditions as of 10.30pm.
NSW Health confirmed that drugs are likely to have been a factor in all of five cases.
A woman receives medical assistance at Ultra festival in Sydney’s west on Sunday
Paramedics wheel away a reveller strapped into a stretcher at Parramatta Park
Police searched 395 people and made 98 detection’s of cannabis, cocaine and MDMA.
Criminal Infringement Notices were issued to 29 revellers, 28 for possession of MDMA and one for cocaine. There were also 13 cannabis cautions handed out.
Officers laid over 45 charges including 10 for supply prohibited drug.
They refused entry to 35 people and 66 festivalgoers were removed from the event.
A young woman was seen in and out of consciousness being taken away on a stretcher as paramedics applied an oxygen mask, while a man was treated in a wheelchair.
Revellers spoke of the rampant drug use at the event – and there willingness to take them, despite a spate of overdoses in recent months.
‘Look at the crowd. You only need one look to see almost everyone is on something in there,’ one said.
Daily Mail Australia witnessed the moment a man was taken to the medical tents by his friends after collapsing on the ground.
One of his friends was overheard saying ‘he has no clue what he’s doing’.
Authorities at the festival told Daily Mail Australia there had been ‘numerous medical issues’
Images from inside the event show a number of revellers seeking medical assistance
The NSW government has imposed strict regulations for the live music scene, forcing festival organisers to splash on extra security measures.
The emphasis on security at the event was palpable as the streets lining the event were littered with security guards almost five metres apart.
While in line, a reveller had a bag of tobacco confiscated by security.
One festivalgoer told Daily Mail Australia that hiding drugs in packets of tobacco was one of the ‘best ways to smuggle drugs into the festival’ undetected and that’s why police had cracked down on it.
A number of other revellers were brave enough to share the reality of drug-use inside the gates and the how they sneak the substances in.
‘My day is perfect. so capped up. I’m high. I’m just chilling here having a drink and smoke,’ one person told Daily Mail Australia.
The NSW government has imposed strict regulations for the live music scene, forcing festival organisers to splash on extra security measures
The reveller was then asked where his friends were and responded ‘capping hard over there’ and pointed to the crowd by the main stage.
He revealed he got the drugs into Ultra by inserting them internally.
‘Up the bum in condom,’ he said.
‘They’re not allowed to search open cavities so you just have to make sure they’re sealed.’
The reveller said he wasn’t concerned about getting caught as you’re ‘fine’ once you pass the sniffer dogs.
Police had congregated around the entrance gate and sniffer dogs were marched around the premises.
Officers appeared to observe revellers enter the venue and would speak to people they suspected of having drugs on them by moving them into a checking zone.
One girl who had been escorted off by police told Daily Mail Australia because she had been sniffed by the dog, she had been taken for a full body check.
The emphasis on security at the event was palpable as the streets lining the event were littered with security guards almost five metres apart
She said because ‘she had nothing on her’ she was allowed back into the festival.
Another festivalgoer who was new to the festival scene said they found the level of police presence ‘intimidating’ and thought they were ‘too strict’ on bag checking.
One female reveller described the upped security as ‘crazy’.
‘I didn’t even bring a side bag because I was worried they’d chuck my stuff,’ she said.
‘Like they’d say ”your perfume that might have drugs in that needs to go” or ”your lip balm that might have drugs in that’s got to go” so I didn’t even bother bringing a bag.’
‘It’s too much security checks.’
At least five people were seen to be escorted to the body check zone within a half hour period, after falling foul of police sniffer dogs, but at least two were later seen back at the festival.
Daily Mail Australia also found a condom wrapper discarded in a cubicles, saw a girl be sick by the side of the stage and a man appear to take a pill out of his pants and put it into his mouth in the middle of the dance floor.
One festivalgoer who was new to the festival scene said they found the level of police presence ‘intimidating’ and thought they were ‘too strict’ on bag checking
Revellers were seen checking out ‘A Guide to Drug Combinations’ sign which showed drugs that would be fatal if mixed.
A would-be festivalgoer told Daily Mail Australia they had been put off attending Ultra due to the strict regulations, despite wanting to experience the event.
‘No I’m not, with the over policing I can’t be bothered being put through the ringer just to go see my favourite artists,’ he said.
‘I would have gone if the police presence wasn’t so heavy handed. I am going to the Mardi Gra after party so will be interesting to see how that will be policed.’
He said the government needed to do more to deal with the numbers of drug-related deaths at festivals, claiming the hard line was not working.
‘My views on pill testing are that our current methods aren’t working so it’s time to re-evaluate our approach and adopt a harm minimisation strategy which has been proven effective overseas,’ he said.
A would-be festivalgoer told Daily Mail Australia they had been put off attending Ultra due to the strict regulations, despite wanting to experience the event
‘We’re going to continue losing kids if we don’t recognise this.’
There had been calls for the state government to implement a pill testing trial at Ultra festival but it was rejected.
A festival security guard was overheard slamming the state government for not ‘changing their practices’ and complained their current approach would ‘do no good’.
On Thursday evening, Sydneysiders gathered for the Don’t Kill Live Music rally at Hyde Park to take a stand against the government’s crackdown on music festivals.
Many protesters were seen holding placards featuring NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s face – who has faced heightened criticism after the introduction of strict festival rules.
PICTURED: SIX YOUNG REVELLERS WHO DIED FROM SUSPECTED PARTY DRUG OVERDOSES IN JUST FIVE MONTHS
Marli Cartmer-Congiu took liquid ecstasy for the first time at a house party in Sydney’s inner-east on Saturday night, her friends said.
A short time later, she collapsed. Her friends called an ambulance and she was rushed to hospital, but she couldn’t be saved.
Alex Ross-King, 19, died in hospital on January 12 after attending the FOMO festival at Parramatta Park.
The Central Coast teenager’s family have pleaded with the NSW government to introduce pill testing reigniting the debate over its effectiveness.
Joshua Tam, 22, died in hospital on December 29 after attending the Lost Paradise music festival near Gosford.
His family have helped set up a clothing label in the young rugby league player’s memory with proceeds going towards drug education for young Australians.
Callum Brosnan, 19, died after attending the dance music festival Knockout Games of Destiny on December 9.
He was found at a train station near the festival at Sydney Olympic Park but later died in hospital.
Joseph Pham, 23, from western Sydney died in hospital from a suspected drug overdose on September 15 after the Defqon.1 festival.
Weeks before his death he shared a Facebook post from a group called ‘Sniff Off’ who advocate for no sniffer dogs, pill testing and drug legalisation.
Diana Nguyen, a 21-year-old from Melbourne, also died after Defqon.1 on September 15 from a suspected drug overdose.
Ms Nguyen was engaged after her finance had proposed in Hawaii during her 21st birthday in April.
A coronial inquest has been launched to investigate the five deaths which occurred at music festivals.
Two more deaths may be examined at the inquest.
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