Crime Files Network

Drug culture all the rave

in sporting cradle

ACT Canberra capital of Australia

28 Apr, 2011 06:44 AM

Revellers at a dance party hosted by the Australian Institute of Sport on Tuesday openly boasted of being high on hard drugs.

And the institute, the breeding ground of Australia’s future Olympians which maintains a hardline anti-drugs policy, is refusing to say how much cash it reaped from the all-day event.

The Canberra Times attended the Warehouse Festival and found the event was rife with drugs, with illicit substances found in the toilets and strewn across the dance floor.

ACT Policing maintained a heavy presence, including a drugs detection dog, outside the event but said they were not invited inside by the organisers, Kicks Entertainment.

Officers caught two revellers with pills believed to contain party drugs and placed one person into protective custody for drunken behaviour.

But inside the event there was ample evidence that a drugs party was in full swing.

One 24-year-old male, who did not wish to be named, said he had smuggled the synthetic drug MDMA into the elite sporting institution.

”I’ll probably pop a few pills later on, they are very easy to find in Canberra, too easy,” he said.

Another reveller said he couldn’t afford alcohol sold at the event so was ”getting high” instead.

An AIS spokeswoman said Government officials were unaware of drugs being brought into the sporting facility and had carried out a thorough risk assessment.

”The AIS did not have any advice that drugs would be present at the event,” she said.

”However, the AIS and the promoter put in place a number of measures to minimise any risks.”

The Government spokeswoman said event organisers had engaged with emergency services, worked with the police and enforced a ”no tolerance policy” in relation to drugs.

She said a ”confidence arrangement” prevented the AIS from disclosing the amount of money it received for hosting the event.

Kicks Entertainment director Ryan Phillips said the event had been a success and the AIS was one of the few venues in Canberra where a dance festival could be hosted.

”There will be some people who chose to do the wrong thing and that’s why we have situations in place to limit [drugs],” he said.

about how they use drugs at these events.”

More than 4,500 people attended Warehouse Festival, which is now in its fourth year and attracted international acts including Deadmau5, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson and Skrillex.

Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia director, Paul Dillon, said it was impossible to keep drugs out of dance events and the institute’s decision to host Warehouse Festival was motivated by money.

But he said there was a big danger in reducing the number of venues where dance festivals take place.

”What happens is they take place elsewhere. And when they go underground there is a chance of things going wrong. It’s getting harder and harder to find a venue to take them on. Young people who are involved with dance culture have become blase about how they use drugs at these events.”

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