Australian festival-goers can help “make pill testing happen” at music events by lobbying local MPs this festival season, harm reduction advocates say.
Director of drug law reform advocacy group Unharm, Will Tregoning, tells Music Feeds that he can’t overstate “the importance of people getting involved in activism to make it happen”, adding that punters shouldn’t assume “drug checking will just fall from the sky”.
While Tregoning believes pill testing still “needs buy-in from police”, he says the initiative “needs patrons to be part of the solution”, and that doesn’t just involve mates looking out for each other at music festivals.
Tregoning says pill testing at Aussie music events “will probably happen in one or two states initially, and then spread”, and is urging supporters to email their local MP using Unharm’s Tests Not Arrests website to help speed up the process.
Tregoning is spearheading the push for pill testing programs at major Aussie festivals along with illicit drug expert Dr David Caldicott and Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation President Dr Alex Wodak.
Dr Caldicott tells Music Feeds he’s currently “in negotiations” with several festival promoters to bring pill testing facilities to their events, and discussions are “going very well indeed”.
Dr Caldicott is optimistic that pill testing at Aussie festivals can get off the ground this 2016/2017 festival season, and says it “would be a monumental failure politically” if it doesn’t get up-and-running until the 2017/2018 season.
He says that pill testing kits have been purchased, and “could be deployed with only four to five days’ notice”. “Punters don’t realise how much work has gone in to getting things ready,” he adds.
While both Dr Caldicott and Will Tregoning believe pill testing is unlikely to happen in New South Wales under the current Liberal Government, they say increased activism from punters and more understanding from law enforcement could see pill testing become a regular occurrence at Aussie festivals in the coming years.
In September, a motion to introduce pill testing and remove sniffer dogs from Aussie music festivals passed the senate.
In December 2015, a poll of over 10,000 Music Feeds readers saw 83 per cent of respondents say they were in favour of Australian festivals introducing drug testing procedures at their events.
Watch: Tests Not Arrests – Adriana’s Call To Action