Sniffer dogs could increase the risk of drug overdoses at music festivals, study finds

A new study conducted by RMIT University has found that the presence of sniffer dogs at music festivals could increase the risk of drug overdoses.

The new research has found that the presence of the dog encourages punters to “adapt their drug consumption, often with harmful consequences.” This could mean taking drugs faster, or in higher quantities.

In completely unsurprising other news, a new report has found that sniffer dogs actually increase the risk of drug overdoses at music festivals.

The study also found that police searches for illegal substances can cause lasting trauma, including anxiety and distress.

People told us that when they realised there were dogs and police monitoring event queues they took all their drugs at once to avoid detection,” said lead researcher Peta Malins.

The implications of being stopped and searched by police go beyond short-term public humiliation. People found the experience highly distressing and reported feeling disempowered and de-humanised.”

Malins called for sniffer dogs at festivals to be “immediately discontinued”, “given that general drug detection dog operations are not working and are instead producing a range of harms including increased risks of overdose, stigma and trauma.”

“The important goal of preventing overdose fatalities in such settings would be far better served by putting resources into evidence-based, non-judgmental and non-threatening harm reduction interventions such as in-situ peer education and pill-testing.”