Pill Testing At Festivals Saves Lives So Why Aren’t We Just Doing It?

In 2018 we got hard, tragic evidence on what saves the lives of young people and what does not. It's time to stop talking and start acting.

On the weekend, 19-year-old Callum Brosnan died after what is suspected to be an adverse reaction to drugs while attending the Knockout Games of Destiny rave in Sydney.

In September two people died at the Defqon.1 event, also in Sydney. And we’re only at the beginning of the festival season.

Now, there are a couple of ways to address this so that it doesn’t happen again.

One is to go the law enforcement route with the hopeful end point of getting rid of recreational drugs altogether – a policy which has been adopted by Australia and much of the rest of the world for 50-plus years, and which has shown zero sign of working.

“Here’s hoping someone else dies instead of you. Toodles!”

The other is harm minimisation, where the “drugs are bad and dangerous” message is leavened with “…but if you’re going to take them, they should be taken as safely as possible”.

And at festivals, that includes pill testing.

Case in point: at the Groovin’ The Moo event in Canberra earlier this year there was a pilot pill testing project. And they found two pills with potentially deadly chemicals in ’em, which the people holding them did not therefore take.

That’s two potential deaths that didn’t happen. Two funerals which didn’t happen. Two families not torn apart. Two communities not in mourning. Two young people that went to a music festival, had a great time, then went home and got on with their lives.

The NSW government, however, see things differently.

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian insisted that adopting a harm minimisation approach would give people a “green light to take substances”.

Except, as we know, people aren’t waiting for a green light from their government in order to take drugs. Case in point: all of the cases, ever.

Although this green light is admittedly pretty trippy.

Her message was slightly finessed with Today, telling them that drug testing isn’t useful because… um, some people are immune to poison, or something?

“If we thought it would save a single life, of course we would go down that path,” she confusingly claimed. “Unfortunately, what pill testing doesn’t do is really take into account people’s different physical attributes. What is safe for one person isn’t safe for another.”

“We brought in some pretty substantial changes, including increase penalties… for those supplying those illegal drugs,” she insisted. “The strongest thing we can do is to send a message to young people: please don’t take any illegal substance.”

Sorry, Gladys, that’s the strongest thing you can do? Say “nah, don’t”?

The Just Say No campaign was invented in 1982 and hasn’t seemingly eliminated drug use in the 36 years since, but the NSW government is banking on it finally getting results any old tick of the clock?

Honest to god, the second you say “you don’t need drugs to have a good time” you’ve lost the respect of any young person watching, Grandma. Because what they hear is “we don’t care about your opinions”. And they’re not wrong.

And this is made all the more clear because the response from the government appears to be to consider shutting down festivals – which the Premier announced plans to do with Defqon.1 – rather than address the actual issue.

Then again, Berejiklian was also in the state government that responded to street violence with lockouts which did less-than-stellar things for Sydney’s CBD entertainment precincts.

And there’s an argument that young people, excited and inexperienced and not great at assessing risk, shouldn’t face a death sentence for doing a far from unusual or unpredictable thing because they crave a moment of feeling good. Which is why people take recreational drugs.

We’re at a point now where we know what doesn’t save lives – what we’re doing – and what does save lives. Pill testing is in category B.

To not do it now, knowing what we know, is to say that political rhetoric is more important than the actual lives of young people.

Robert Pattinson Says He Smells Like A Crayon And I Need To Know Which Colour

Another wild yarn from R-Patz.

Robert Pattinson has gained quite a reputation for spinning wild yarns during interviews, but his most recent comments on his body odour have me truly shaken.

In a recent interview with Allure the star of the upcoming The Batman film said, “Lots of people tell me I smell like a crayon.”

The interviewer – understandably bewildered by this statement – then asked, “Like you’re made of wax?”

To which R-Patz responded, “Yes! Like I’m embalmed.”

I have so many questions. What colour crayon does Pattinson smell like? What brand? Is he using lots of crayons? And most importantly, who are these multiple people who are telling him he smells like crayon!? Is that an insult, or a compliment?

It’s not the first time Robert Pattinson’s scent has come up in conversation. Back in 2009, E! News reported that an unidentified source who worked “very closely” with the actor on New Moon said “he stinks.”

“I mean, it’s awful,” the source said. “He never showers, and it drives people on the set crazy.”

“He completely reeks,” an unidentified crew member added. Yikes.

It’s been over a decade since then, so we can only hope Robert Pattinson has swapped his lack of showering for an obsession with crayons. 

Speaking of celebrity scents, celebrity tattoo artist Lauren Winzer dishes on what Post Malone smells like on It’s Been A Big Day For…below:

During his interview with Allure, Pattinson was also asked about being recently named the “most handsome man” in the world according to science.

“It’s weird,” he said. “I never was really up for the good-looking-guy roles, because I’ve always been quite awkward when meeting people.”

“My Harry Potter role was a good-looking guy, and it was a shock that it was quite easy to get. And then in Twilight, [Edward is] beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. When I turned up for the auditions, I had done a job where I’d dyed my hair black, because I had an inch and a half of roots, and I had waxed my body. And then I had a few months where I’d been drinking beer all day, so I had this hairless, chubby body. I looked like a baby with a wig on.”

Hairless, chubby, waxed or smelling like a crayon – we’ll take Robert Pattinson any which way.

Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe to It’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.

Win Free Meals For Six Months

Get stuck in.

Brought to you by

Who doesn’t love a good feed? Especially when it’s free.

Our mates at are running this competition to give you the chance to win free meals for six months.

Enter using the Nova FM form below or here. Bon Appétit!

For the avoidance of doubt, this promotion is conducted by our mates at Nova FM

Pop-up Channel

Follow Us