The debate will rage on after it was announced that a second pill testing trial has been announced after a tragic spate of deaths over the summer festival season.
It will yet again be the ACT Government stepping up to the plate after approving another trial this years Groovin The Moo festival after a successful debut last year that found and encouraged the disposal of dangerous pills while identifying a number of strange chemicals including lactose, sweetener and paint.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr reiterated his stance on taking drugs but has looked at the evidence that saw pill testing was better than doing nothing tweeting to his followers.
“Pill testing does not make taking illicit drugs safe and our message to the community will always be, don’t take drugs. However, pill testing provides a health intervention at the point when someone is making the decision to take a pill.”
The ACT Government has updated their website to reflect the move detailing;
Pill testing is a harm reduction service (also known as drug checking) that analyses the contents of drugs to help you avoid the unknown and potentially dangerous substances in illicit drugs.
Pill testing facilities have been effectively used internationally since the 1990’s and are currently available in 20 countries within Europe and the Americas, as well as New Zealand.
An Australian-first trial of a pill testing service was conducted at the Canberra leg of the Groovin the Moo festival on 29 April 2018.
The ACT Government is committed to preventing and reducing the harms associated with drug use and continues to explore opportunities to deliver pill testing in the future.
STA-SAFE Australia who recently rebranded to Pill Testing Australia will once again head up the campaign April 28th at the Canberra leg of the national festival after announcing they were ready to go for all states if each government was willing to back it.
The news of the second trial will come as good news for those backing pill testing that includes the parents of the teen who passed at the FOMO festival earlier this year, 17,000 doctors of the The Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Australian Medical Association.
Below is a list of health groups, Authority figures and political parties currently backing pill testing in Australia.
Australian Medical Association
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre
The Ambulance Union State Council
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation’s state boss Paul Gilbert
Former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Palmer
ACT Chief Health Commissioner Dr Paul Kelly
Independent MP Doctor Keryn Phelps
NZ Police Commissioner Stuart Nash
Australian Festival Association
UK Festival organisers
It’ll be interesting to see if interstate counterparts including NSW Premiere Gladys Berejiklian will accept an invitation to watch first hand the trial and if she’ll accept it as the evidence needed to enact pill testing in NSW where a majority of the deaths have happened.