Hi-tech Glastonbury lab set up to tackle legal highs
Scientists have set up a high-tech laboratory at the famous Glastonbury music festival so they can test and identify the drugs that are seized from revellers.
The government scientists will be working closely with the police and drug charities over the coming weekend to form what is known as the Forensic Early Warning System (FEWS).
Set up as a response to the increasing concerns about the emergence of legal highs, the FEWS will work to gain a more accurate understanding of the drugs that are available and the substances that have been used to produce them.
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Any drugs that are seized by police during the Glastonbury festival will be taken to the testing laboratory where scientists will be able to analyse the drugs and their components.
The information gained as a result of the testing will then be shared with other summer festival organisers so they can plan how they will tackle drug use and legal highs during their events.
It is also thought that the FEWS will be implemented at other music festivals in the UK this year, although details of exact locations are yet to be confirmed.
"We must send a clear message to anyone who takes so-called 'legal highs' - you are playing Russian roulette with your health," said Baroness Browning, the minister for crime prevention.
"The Forensic Early Warning System is a pioneering approach that will help us stay one step ahead of unscrupulous manufacturers who peddle in these pernicious products."
"I am delighted Glastonbury, and other festivals, have supported this initiative and hope together we can help protect young people from the real dangers posed by these drugs."
All the intelligence and data that the FEWS gains from Glastonbury will be monitored by the UK government who will then consider taking further action to stamp out legal highs.