Authorities blunt drug message for Groovin’ The Moo patrons following near-death overdose

PARTY TIME: Police want revellers heading to the popular Groovin’ The Moo festival at Maitland to enjoy themselves but have promised to crack down on unlawful behaviour, including drug possession. Picture: Peter Stoop.AUTHORITIES have issued a blunt warning for Groovin’The Moo festival goers who believe they can still carry drugs into the venue –the police presence will be bigger than ever.

The popular music festival at Maitland Showgroundhas a checkered history with drug use, including the near-death of a teenage girl at last year’s event.

The Sydney girl, 15, had to be revived by paramedics before being rushed to hospital in a critical condition following the suspected overdose at the festival last year.

Senior police warned the teen would have died if not for the quick work of paramedics and criticised the 36 people who were detected carrying drugs, mainly MDMA (ecstasy),into the festival.

The vast majority of those caught with drugs last year were juveniles, and it followed atleast 40 people being caught in possession of illicit substances in 2015.

Central Hunter crime manager Detective Inspector George Radmore said dozens of officers would be used in the operation.

“I want to make it clear that the operation is designed to keep people safe,’’ he said.

As well as drug detection dogs and uniformed police in and around the festival, plain clothes officers wouldbe patrollingthe grounds.

Specialist officers from the Police Transport Command would be patrolling trains and buses to and from the showground.

Detective Inspector Radmore said not all officers would be easily recognisable.

“We want everyone to have a good time, to abide by the law and know that there will be zero tolerance for drug possession and supply,’’ Detective Inspector Radmore said.

“We urgepeople to make sure they remain safe and that includes not taking drugs.

“We remind people that a young girl took prohibited drugs last year and was in a dire medical state; she could well have died.

“It should be a stark reminder to all about the dangers of taking drugs.’’

Senior police remain adamant they were only moments away from tragedy last year.

They believe theyoung girl would have died without prompt attention from paramedics.

They remained concerned young revellers would attempt to enter the festival with drugs hidden on their body.

The specialist drug detection dogs and handlers would remain at the festival for the entire day.

Groovin’The Moo festival organisers, who enjoyed a patronage of more than 20,000 people at Maitland last year but ignored questions about the near-death at the time,did not respond to Fairfax Media when approached for comment on Friday.

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