Australia

Sydney rave death renews calls for pill testing

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Police are pleading with young people to stay away from drugs after a 19-year-old man died following a suspected drug overdose at a Sydney dance party.

Another Sydney music festival death has renewed calls for pill testing at major events but the NSW premier is standing firm against the measure.

A 19-year-old man died in Concord Hospital early on Sunday while two women, aged 19 and 25, and a man are in critical but stable conditions at Westmead Hospital after suspected drug overdoses at the Knockout Games of Destiny dance party at Sydney Olympic Park on Saturday night.

Assistant Commissioner Peter Thurtell said it was another "senseless" death and pleaded with young people who he says aren't getting the message about drugs.

Police officers at the festival issued 69 banning notices and conducted more than 200 searches, with 62 people found in possession of drugs including one woman who was found with nearly 400 tablets internally concealed.

Police charged several people, including a 25-year-old man who was allegedly found with 145 MDMA capsules in his possession.

Earlier this year, two people died after overdosing at Sydney music festival Defqon.1, prompting the creation of an expert panel to advise the NSW government on drug-related deaths at festivals.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
AAP

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Sunday said she was beside herself that young people weren't getting the message.

Asked if it was time to reconsider the government's position on pill testing, Ms Berejiklian said no because it could give people a "green light" to taking substances.

Drug law reform campaign Take Control called on the state government to introduce pill testing with spokesman Matt Noffs saying while it's not a silver bullet, it's a good solution.

NSW Labor has promised to hold a drug summit in 2019 if the party is elected to government at the state election in March.

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