Last year, Canberra’s Groovin the Moo festival became the first in the country to host a pill testing trial. The ACT Government hailed the trial a success, with 85 substances tested and two potentially deadly substances detected.
After a summer of tragic festival overdoses in New South Wales that saw the deaths of five young people, it’s refreshing to see that at least some governmental bodies are being proactive and logical about harm reduction.
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.https://t.co/nZ5yGdytyS
— Andrew Barr MLA (@ABarrMLA) February 18, 2019
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said state and territory health ministers from across the country would be invited to witness the trial first-hand at this year’s event.
“We are keen for this approach to continue on the basis of the success of the first trial and the failure of policy over many decades now to address harm minimisation adequately,” he said.
“We believe that by making this service available there’s potential to save lives.”
The ACT’s support of pill testing makes the New South Wales Government’s current strategy seem even more unreasonably than it already did.
Under the leadership of Gladys Berejiklian , NSW has refused to consider pill testing, and has doubled down with new policing rules that are making it near impossible for festivals around the state to run.
The damage done to the live music/entertainment industry by these new rulings, along with the refusal to tackle recreational drug usage with a proven approach, is disastrous. It prompted Sydney’s councillors to go against the NSW Government last week by unanimously voting to support the creation of a harm reduction summit that will reassess the current policies and the viability of initiatives like pill testing.
Hopefully NSW will eventually get to where ACT is on this matter, and we can actually save lives instead of talking s**t.