Message from Police
Please take the time to read the below comments from the NSW and Victoria Police, both of whom invest many hours supporting public safety during the festival.
MESSAGE FROM NSW POLICE
"The Strawberry Fields event held at Tocumwal each year brings together many people from all over Australia to celebrate music and art. The festival organisers work hard to organise a variety of entertainment and experiences at Strawberry Fields, however, their number one issue is still, and always will be patron safety. The NSW Police have this as our primary goal and we make no effort to hide the fact that the transportation and possession of illicit drugs within New South Wales will never be condoned and every effort will be brought to bare to detect and remove those drugs from the public domain.
Similarly, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or even the driving with illicit substance present in your system is an offence in the State of New South Wales. Police will be tasked to focus on people leaving Strawberry Fields, the same as any other large scale event to ensure that drivers are complying with the road rules and are, to the best of our efforts, going to make it back home safely. Ultimately, all of the strategies the NSW Police will utilise over the weekend are designed to achieve that one simple goal. To make sure you as a patron of the Strawberry Fields festival return to your family and loved ones safely.
Please do not be reckless and take un-necessary risks with your health or driving behaviour and know that the NSW Police will be out in force to ensure that the weekend is a success that you can talk about with your friends and family for years to come."
MESSAGE FROM VICTORIA POLICE
"Victoria Police will have a significant and highly-visible presence as attendees hit the road for the upcoming Strawberry Fields Music Festival. Unfortunately, police have routinely encountered drug-affected people on the roads heading to the festival. As the festival is in a rural location, police are aware that nearly all attendees drive to the event. This poses additional risks for those who have taken drugs during their time at the event. Last year, 72 drivers were detected with drugs in their system across a five day operation. There is this idea with some people that taking drugs enhances their time at the festival, but in reality, they are potentially putting the health and safety of themselves and others at risk. We encourage people to enjoy themselves, but to do so in a legal, safe and responsible manner.
Since 2013, the number of drivers who have lost their lives on the roads each year with an illicit substance in their system, has exceeded the number of drivers who have lost their lives with alcohol in their system. Like alcohol, drugs can reduce a driver’s ability to have full control of a vehicle. Cannabis and heroin can slow down reaction times, distort perception of speed and distance, and reduce concentration and coordination when driving. Speed, ecstasy and cocaine can lead to over-confidence, rash decision making and risk taking, as well as fatigue caused by an inability to sleep. Hallucinogens affect hearing and sight as well as the perception of time, distance and movement. Particularly dangerous is multiple drug use which can lead to extreme and varied effects such as dramatically slowed reaction times, visual distortion, inability to judge speeds and distances, and risk taking. In 2004, Victoria was the first place in the world to commence a roadside random drug testing program. There may have been the perception among some people in regional areas that you can take illicit drugs, jump behind the wheel of a car or heavy vehicle and get away with it. This is certainly not the case.
You can be tested anywhere, anytime. The reality is, if you take drugs and drive, you’re out of your mind."