Crowds gather for a musical performance at the Tall Trees Music Festival. (Tall Trees Music festival photo)

No fentanyl found at Tall Tree Music festival

Organizers made a decision to increase harm reduction and medical services this year

There was no fentanyl found or any drug overdoses at this year’s Tall Tree Music Festival.

Tall Tree Music Festival officials said Thursday that following the increase in fentanyl-related drug overdoses in B.C., festival organizers made a decision to increase harm reduction and medical services this year.

“Fentanyl was a concern going into the festival with all the recent overdoses reports, but we were hoping not to find it and that’s what happened,” said Emmalee Brunt, the festival’s communications manager.

Brunt said no opiates, including fentanyl, were found on the site or in drug testing, nor was the harm reduction team notified of a drug overdose.

One person was sent to hospital over the four-day festival, but not due to overdose. Typically, festival medical personnel treat sprains, bumps, scratches, cuts, dehydration, and other conditions.

Brunt said nearly 2,000 revellers turned out for the festival, and with such a large crowd, health conditions and emergencies were expected.

“Harm reduction and medical work 24 hours around the clock to ensure the safety of everyone present,” said Kaityln Nohr, director of harm reduction.

“The difference in working with safety teams in a collaborative way proved time and time again, that there’s a solid group of individuals committed to supporting each other and the people attending the festival.”

The Tall Tree festival began offering free drug testing at the 2016 festival, and while no opiates were found ithis year, other drugs were identified.

There has never been a drug overdose at the festival, Brunt said.

Fentanyl has been found laced in many drugs at music festivals throughout North America over the last several years, with some deaths reported.

The province has called fentanyl a “medical crisis.” Across the country, Canada saw an estimated 2,500 opioid-related deaths in 2016.

The Tall Tree festival was held June 23 to 26 in Port Renfrew.

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