It may still be a while before pill testing is available at music festivals in New South Wales, according to the founder of harm reduction agency Unharm, Will Tregoning.
Tregoning, Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation president Alex Wodak and Canberra doctor David Caldicott have been working towards creating safe spaces for punters to test drugs like MDMA for purity, and for the presence of dangerous things often added to the mix.
The latest news from the trio is promising for Canberrans, however, with Tregoning telling triple j‘s Hack program that pill testing will probably happen in Canberra later this year.
“I think we will see drug checking or pill testing in Australia this year,” Tregoning said. “It won’t happen in NSW. It’s much more likely to happen in the ACT.”
When asked if he thought that pill testing would be available by Canberra’s new Spilt Milk festival in December, Tregoning said that it might end up being Groovin The Moo‘s Canberra leg in early 2017.
“Canberra doesn’t have the biggest festival but there’s an opportunity to prove this is a viable and effective thing that can really work,” he said. “All these things that people come up with about how we can’t possibly do this in Australia – they can easily be disproved by showing this can be done.
“Pill testing is being used in at least 10 countries around the world. Absolutely we know it’s working.”
Tregoning’s words comes shortly after the ACT Greens revealed they are pushing for trials of pill testing at Canberra music festivals, and have pledged to bring up the idea at the next Legislative Assembly.
The NSW Government and NSW Police have already labelled Tregoning’s project as illegal, and a spokesperson for the ACT Government told Hack that pill testing at ACT festivals is “not a government endorsed approach”, so it remains to be seen if pill testing trials will actually happen before the year is out.