SENIOR police have issued a warning to festival-goers about using amyl nitrite after a woman at The Drop Festival on Saturday was taken to hospital suffering from the effects of the potentially deadly inhalant.
Newcastle City police Inspector Shane Buggy said police were relatively pleased with the behaviour of those who attended the indie-rock music festival in King Edward Park, but were concerned by what could be a growing trend of festival-goers using the dangerous substance amyl nitrite.
More than 4500 people attended the event, which was headlined by indie-folk siblings Angus and Julia Stone. Police say they ejected a number of revellers for intoxication, while a number of others were detected carrying drugs.
Inspector Buggy said a 21-year-old man from Merewether, who had attended the festival in King Edward Park, was arrested and charged with entering enclosed lands, assaulting police and resisting arrest.
But of most concern was a young woman who was hospitalised after inhaling amyl nitrite, police said.
In an unrelated incident, police seized amyl nitrite, contained in a small bottle of Jungle Juice leather polish, from a man.
"While we're relatively happy from a police perspective with crowd behaviour we want to take this opportunity to raise awareness about the dangers of amyl nitrite," Inspector Buggy said.
"The information we have from health professionals is that it is a dangerous substance to take and can lead to death and serious health concerns.
"We understand this product can be purchased over the counter and I think consumers are of the belief that it is legal.
"There might be parents that have children at that age where they're going to music festivals and they might see this lying around in a bedroom. "It's a good opportunity to sit them down and talk about the dangers of this type of thing."
According to the Australia Drug Foundation, amyl nitrite is a depressant, meaning it slows down the messages travelling between the brain and body, and goes by street names poppers, liquid gold, rush, purple haze and buzz.
Recreationally, it is used to enhance sexual experience or to experience a general sense of pleasure, the ADF says. The effects are felt within 30 seconds of taking the drug, and last for around two to three minutes.
Meanwhile, police were pleased with the behaviour of the 3000 or so people who attended Live at the Foreshore on Saturday night.
Again, specialist police and drug detection dogs were out in force.
Inspector Buggy said police ejected a number of intoxicated punters and made one drug detection.
"Both festivals were deemed a success largely due to promoters acting responsibly and working closely with council and police in the planning phase," Inspector Buggy said.
"That leads to us being able to facilitate a safe event for young people in Newcastle."
The weekend's final music festival, Up Down, which was held at Camp Shortland in the Foreshore was underway and progressing well as at 5pm on Sunday, Inspector Buggy said.