Image for Motion To Introduce Pill Testing & Remove Sniffer Dogs From Festivals Passes The SenateSniffer Dogs At Parklife Music Festival Sydney, 2010 / Photo: Don Arnold/Getty Images

Motion To Introduce Pill Testing & Remove Sniffer Dogs From Festivals Passes The Senate

Written by Sam Murphy on September 1, 2016

A motion has passed through the Senate which could see the removal of sniffer dogs and the introduction of pill testing facilities at Australian music festivals.

The Greens passed a motion yesterday with support from the Liberals and Labor which marked International Overdose Awareness Day with a number of measures to prevent overdoses.

Along with calling for the expansion of medically supervised syringe injecting facilities and the promotion of “life-saving opioid reversal drug Naloxone”, The Greens have also highlighted the need for better overdose prevention at music festivals.

The motion passed states that the Government should be, “working with state and territory governments to cease the use of drug sniffer dogs at festivals and urgently introduce trials of pill testing for the upcoming festivals season”.

Both these issues have been widely debated over the past few years, with The Greens consistently supporting both measures despite some resistance from Labor and Liberal Governments.

Six people lose their lives due to drug overdoses in Australia each day, according to the bill, and The Greens believe these are completely “preventable”.

In March this year, NSW Greens MP Jenny Leong called for the end of sniffer dog use without a warrant saying, “The program just doesn’t work.”

Meanwhile, pill testing has been all but ruled out at NSW festivals this year, while the ACT Greens are pushing for pill testing at Canberra festivals which is, looking like more of a possibility.

You can read the full motion The Greens passed through the Senate, below.

The Greens Motion (31/08/16):

That the Senate –
(a) notes that:
(i) today is the 15th annual International Overdose Awareness Day, commemorating all those who have died or been seriously injured due to drug overdose, and
(ii) six people lose their lives to preventable overdose in Australia each day; and
(b) calls on the Government to address the rising rates of harm associated with drug use by implementing and appropriately resourcing evidence-based harm reduction policies, including:
(i) greater access to needle and syringe programs across the country with an urgent roll-out of trials inside prisons,
(ii) expanded access to medically supervised injecting facilities across Australia,
(iii) promoting awareness of the life-saving opioid reversal drug Naloxone, and highlighting its availability over the counter in pharmacies, and
(iv) working with state and territory governments to cease the use of drug sniffer dogs at festivals and urgently introduce trials of pill testing for the upcoming festivals season.

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