Drug detection dogs at music festivals are not a deterrent for people who regularly use MDMA and consume illicit drugs, new research has revealed.
Almost all (92 per cent) users told researchers they expected to see drug detection dogs at festivals, but only 60 per cent had actually encountered one.
Most (86 per cent) people take steps to avoid detection, and more than half (57 per cent) said they hide their drugs well.
One in five (20 per cent) take drugs before entering the music festival.
Just four per cent of respondents who anticipated drug dogs, chose not to bring or take drugs.
One-quarter (26 per cent) said they were stopped by police when entering festival grounds, and four per cent had their body or bag searched.
Drug dogs are trained to detect illegal substances, with a positive indication from a drug dog often used as justification by police to physically search an individual's possessions, car or body.
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The research was conducted by The University of New South Wales, University of Tasmania, Flinders University and Curtin University.
"Despite growing evidence challenging the effectiveness and legality of drug dog operations, and recommendations to cease operations at music festivals, our findings suggest encounters with drug drugs at music festivals remain common," researchers said.
"While the vast majority of participants anticipated their presence at music festivals, few were deterred from consuming or carrying drugs into the festival.
"Given the high frequency of behavioural adaptations which may carry health, social, and legal risks and police behaviour potentiating traumatic experiences for festival-goers, our study contributes to concerns regarding the efficacy and appropriateness of this policing initiative."