In a somewhat surprising turn of events, the NSW Coroner is reported to be backing pill testing among 40 other draft recommendations to the NSW Government. This comes following an extensive inquest after the tragic deaths of six young people at music festivals between December 2017 and January 2019.
Coroner Harriet Grahame who led the report made the recommendations alongside advice on reducing the amount of police sniffer dogs, body searches and extreme police presence at music festivals in a report to be made public November 8th.
The report and it’s draft recommendations were sent to various NSW Government departments, NSW police and unsurprisingly found itself leaked to The Daily Telegraph, who in turn sought comment from various senators and MPs including Nationals leader Bridget Mackenzie, who told Nine;
“There is a reason drugs are illegal, it is because they do you great harm,” adding “Obviously this is a matter for the coroner and the NSW government, but we can’t – my personal belief is we can’t have places in our community where the law doesn’t apply.”
Whilst ‘belief’ by a Nationals MP is something, it doesn’t quite hold the same weight as the NSW Coroner who has focused for months on a particular issue and has made recommendations based on scientific evidence.
Pill testing has already had two major test runs in Australia with last year and this years Groovin The Moo festival in the ACT (backed by state government) successfully running trials and each time detecting deadly substances that were removed from circulation.
Pill testing is an alternative to sniffer dogs who get it wrong up to 65% of the time and have increased 20 fold in a decade while costing tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions annually and resulting in little to no arrests as shown by a number of stats for various festivals in NSW for the past few years. Hell, even news.com.au published an article about it all.
On a global scale, pill testing has been happening in various countries since the early 90s with information on dangerous or overly strong drugs being circulated through entertainment districts, clubs and online as one form of harm reduction that has so far worked very successfully.
Will the NSW Government listen to the recommendations? We’re unsure as they initially brought in even tougher restrictions on music festivals that led to a string of events being unable to continue, but were thankfully disallowed recently. Guess we’ll have to wait until November 1st!
How does pill testing it work? Watch the video below;