The shattered friends of a young man who died at a music festival over the weekend have flooded social media with their grief.
Glenn Mcrae, 24, died on Sunday after reportedly consuming a cocktail of drugs including GHB, MDMA and cocaine at the Strawberry Fields festival in Tocumwal in the Riverina.
"Today I lost one of my best mates," Neha Singh wrote on Facebook.
"Glenn you were the funniest, sweetest person I know. You were basically my older brother … I love you more than you'll ever know," she said.
Another tribute posted to Facebook by a friend said they couldn’t “picture a Sunday arvo without a bevy with you”.
“You were one of the funniest, down to earth and genuine bloke I knew [sic]. I rarely ever show it but I loved you and looked up to you,” the grief-stricken person added.
Abbey Macklan said Mr Mcrae was “such a quality bloke always up for a chat and a laugh”.
“[I] just can’t believe it was you. Rest In Peace Glenn Mcrae, you meant a lot to those around you, I’ll miss you. We all will.”
NSW Premier digs heels in on pill testing
In the wake of the young man’s death, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian reiterated her opposition to pill testing at music festivals.
Mr Mcrae's death was the first of the summer music festival period and came weeks after Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame delivered 28 recommendations – including a pill testing trial – after an inquest into six MDMA-related deaths at NSW festivals.
Ms Berejiklian on Monday continued to rule out a trial of pill testing despite the deputy coroner's recommendations and the testimony of most experts who say it would reduce harm.
After being repeatedly questioned on the issue, Ms Berejiklian hit back.
"What questions would you be asking me if we allow pill testing and over a summer 10 people died ... after someone told them there were no impurities in their pill. We'd be having a very different conversation," she told reporters.
"For every person whose life might be saved by pill testing, if that were the case, there could be 10 others that succumb because they're given a false sense of security."
The coroner last month said pill testing was conducted around the world and "no facility ever advises patrons their drugs are safe".
"One of the most important aspects of drug checking ... is the possibility of providing a brief harm reduction intervention," Ms Grahame found.
As a result, some festival-goers make behavioural changes.
Pill testing trials in Canberra in 2018 and 2019 also revealed some revellers abandoned drugs identified as harmful.
However, Ms Berejiklian on Monday dismissed those findings, saying her government didn't believe pill testing was "the way to go".
"When there are thousands of people at a festival and a medical person sits down with a young person and says, 'Do not take this drug', at the end of the day we can have that message 365 days of the year for young people," the premier said.
"What might be OK for one person in taking a tablet could be lethal for another person. So let's not pretend that pill testing would have saved these lives."
The premier said a number of times the coroner had found what killed five out of the six young people whose deaths were examined was "pure ecstasy".
"There's no doubt that governments across Australia need to do everything we can to protect lives and save lives, but let's not make the situation worse," Ms Berejiklian said.
"Pill testing would not have saved those lives, let's be clear about that."
The coroner did not use the phrase "pure ecstasy" in her findings, however.
Instead, she noted "the cause of death in each of these cases was from the consumption of the drug MDMA at toxic levels way above that required to provide the desired euphoric effect".
The coroner additionally urged police to stop using sniffer dogs at festivals which can lead to panic ingestion, double dosing and pre-loading.
Ms Grahame further argued the wide-scale strip-searching of young people at festivals was "of grave concern".
NSW Police on Monday said 95 people at the Strawberry Fields festival were charged with drug offences including one man allegedly caught with 75 MDMA pills, speed and cocaine.
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