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Byron Shire
December 6, 2021

Spike in illicit drug detections at Falls following police crackdown

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Nearly 200 people were caught with illicit drugs during an extended police sniffer dog operation at this year’s Byron Bay Falls Festival.

Detective Inspector Matthew Kehoe from Byron Police said officers seized 750 grams of illicit substances during the operation, including ketamine, cocaine, cannabis, MDMA, mushroom, LSD and methamphetamine.

‘We’re still seeing a lot of people bringing drugs into festivals,’ Inspector Kehoe said.

‘We ran a drug dog operation over three days which led to 190 drug detections.’

‘That’s higher than last year, which corresponds with the lengthier operation.’

The drug detection figures from this year’s event dwarfed those from previous years.

There were just five drug detections at the 2016-17 event and 27 in 2015-16.

Those found in possession of drugs faced a range of penalties including criminal charges, cautions (for cannabis only) and eviction from the festival (at the discretion of the organisers).

Inspector Kehoe said there had not been any serious injuries during this year’s event, though medical services did have to transport a number of people to local hospitals for treatment.

Meanwhile, Byron Bay locals awoke on New Year’s Day to a sea of beer bottles and cans in Apex Park and Main Beach. 

‘That was the one thing we were disappointed about,’ Inspector Kehoe said of New Year’s celebrations in the bay.

‘We don’t want to be the fun police but when you see people walking into the park with six eskies full of grog it’s not good.

‘I’ll be working with council over the coming year to try and make sure the message gets through more clearly next time that the parl is an alcohol-free zone.’

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    • If it weren’t for prohibition we would have better quality control, but then without prohibition we would be deprived of the 3rd largest industry on the planet, illicit drugs and that would be economic vandalism.

  1. Its pill testing that will save lives not prohibition. for every one that gets busted there are 1000 others that dont. Some people take pills because they are harder to detect by police than pot and they are concerned the sniffer dogs will bust them for smoking a joint so they take a mystery drug they dont know what is in it. If you are serious about harm reduction and not just on the prohibition or “just say no” Crusade (that by the way doesn’t work) then bring on pill testing at festivals.

  2. And all the drugs coming through in peoples wee and poo, which is proposed to be buried on the site, with its high water table all flowing down to the adjacent wetlands, Nature Reserve creeks and the Brunswick river, on a site that Byron Councils study identified was unfit for onsite sewerage. Entertainment in environmental vandalism.

  3. And we could have saved the same amount of lives without ruining them through criminal conviction by introducing pill testing.


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