Australia

Parents of fatal festival overdoses beg for their children to be 'faces of change'

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The parents of young people who died from suspected drug overdoses at NSW festivals hope their children can be the faces for change.

The mother of an "adored" young man who fatally overdosed at a NSW music festival has begged politicians to step aside and let experts determine policies so her son and others who died can be faces for change.

Julie Tam, the mother of 22-year-old Joshua Tam, says the deaths of her son and five other young people at NSW music festivals between December 2017 and January 2019 need not be in vain.

Julie Tam addresses the media outside the coroner's court.
Julie Tam addresses the media outside the coroner's court.
AAP

The fatalities have been examined by Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame at an inquest that came to a close on Friday.

Alexandra Ross-King, Diana Nguyen, Joseph Pham, Callum Brosnan and Nathan Tran, aged between 18 and 23, also died after ingesting illicit drugs in hot weather.

"Our children's faces must be the faces of change," Mrs Tam said, describing herself and other parents as "the carnage left behind".

Joshua Tam died following a music festival.
Joshua Tam died following a music festival.
AAP

"We may not be able to bring Josh (or the others) back to us the way we wish we could with every fabric of our being," she told the inquest.

"But they were meant to create a ripple so far and so wide that these changing landscapes cannot be ignored."

As the Lidcome Coroner's Court inquest finished Mrs Tam said it was "terrifying to think that summer is coming" and with it "the next onslaught of festivals".

Ms Grahame will release her findings on November 8 - a brief turnaround so her recommendations are made before the peak of the summer festival period.

Mrs Tam told the inquest no "magic bullet" would save other families from feeling the pain of losing a loved one in such a way.

However, she suggested having more emergency health professionals on-site, not holding festivals when temperatures soared to dangerous levels and stepping away from hardline policing.

Parents of those who died, Andrew Murphy, Jennie Ross-King, Julie Tam,  John Tam and Cornelius Brosnan.
Parents of those who died, Andrew Murphy, Jennie Ross-King, Julie Tam, John Tam and Cornelius Brosnan.
AAP

She's also pleaded for drug checking, saying while "it may not have saved Josh ... it may very well have been the missing factor".

"It may have saved another, that's all that should matter," she said.

"Those that stand in the way of change please step aside ... I don't believe that political parties should be involved in decisions like these at all; re-election should not influence important reforms."

With AAP...

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