Image for Soz Conservatives, ‘ABC Fact Check’ Says Claims Pill-Testing Leads To More Deaths Are False

Soz Conservatives, ‘ABC Fact Check’ Says Claims Pill-Testing Leads To More Deaths Are False

Written by Emmy Mack on July 19, 2018

Ever since Australia’s first pill-testing facility was trialled at Groovin The Moo Canberra earlier this year, some conservative politicians have been forecasting the apocalypse.

ICYMI: while the landmark trial came back with disturbing details about some of the 83 drugs tested, the upshot of those results was that many of the punters who owned the bad drugs decided to bin them, causing many to hail the whole thing a big success.

Now, while The Greens and other advocates of harm minimisation (AKA non-sniffer dog) measures to combat drug overdoses have been calling for the trial to be rolled out to other Aussie music festivals, others such as Liberal pollies Craig Kelly and Jeremy Hanson have been claiming that a wider adoption of pill-testing would lead to an increase in drug use and, therefore, deaths.

“What we may benefit on the one hand, will actually have adverse consequences by giving the encouragement and the green-lights to the greater use of drugs in our society and our community,” Kelly told triple J’s Hack.

“By saying it’s a good batch of drugs, I believe it could result in an increase drugs and a greater rates of deaths and greater harm to our society.”

ACT Shadow Attorney-General Hanson made an even bolder statement.

“What we’re seeing from evidence overseas, places like the UK where they have pill-testing, what happens is more people take drugs and more people die as a consequence,” he told 2GB.

But RMIT ABC Fact Check researchers have since run his claims through their own testing facilities, and detected powerful traces of bullshit.

“Mr Hanson’s claim doesn’t check out,” Researcher Claudia Long now tells Hack.

In fact, Claudia reckons the opposite is way more likely.

“There is evidence to suggest that pill-testing can make some users more likely to dispose of their drugs or take smaller quantities of them,” she continues.

“In the UK, two thirds of users said they would not take drugs found to have harmful substances and more than half said test results had affected their consumption choices.”

So, like the bad drugs at Groovin Canberra, we’re putting conservative leaders’ dodgy claims in the bin.

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