Sniffer dogs, no amnesty, dob in a drug dealer, the “dance of death.” Recreational drug use is, by most accounts, a factor in many young people’s lives. Discussion has progressed, intellectual heavyweights have entered the conversation. But the policing of weed, pills and powder and government’s position on illegal substances is as hardline as ever.

With two deaths at the Defqon.1 festival in western Sydney over the weekend — making it four fatalities in five years for this particular event — the debate on drugs has erupted once more. NSW Premier and state Liberal Party leader Gladys Berejiklian has pledged to ban the fest, and hosed-down the movement for pill testing.

Many others say it’s time to change tac, for a new policy. And that destroying a music festival doesn’t tackle the issue, it’ll only drive drugs back underground.

TIO reached out to music professionals and politicians and rounded up some of the finest thinking on the issue.

Jesse Desenberg, DJ and producer (aka Kid Kenobi)

In 1995 I wrote an essay while at university (which got published as a course reading) titled ‘Ecstasy and the Status Quo’. It was largely a response to the death of Anna Woods and an advocation of pill testing at raves and dance parties.

It’s sad to see that 23 years later we are still grappling with the same issues and more kids are dying because we continue to take a moral stand against drugs and not deal with the social reality of drug use amongst young people.