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Image for Authorities (And Not Punters) Should Have Access To Pill Testing At Festivals, Says Parliamentary CommitteePhotos: J Brebner Photography / Wikimedia Commons

Authorities (And Not Punters) Should Have Access To Pill Testing At Festivals, Says Parliamentary Committee

Written by Emmy Mack on March 28, 2018

A  Victorian parliamentary squad looking into the state’s illicit drug policy has come back with some interesting tips for the government.

Among the 50 recommendations listed in their whopping  680-page report, the committee reckoned that emergency services should be given access to pill testing services at music festivals.

As the ABC reports, they proposed that authorities should be allowed to use “back-of-house” testing labs to help them treat patients who OD, as well as issue alerts to the public in a bid prevent other incidents.

However, while the report admitted there was evidence showing strong support for pill testing, it stopped short of recommending the technology be made available to the general public.

“A key concern of the committee regarding drug checking is that it may lead to a perception among individuals who use drugs that, once the substances are tested, they are safe to consume,” the report states.

“A related concern is that drug-checking services might be misused by drug suppliers, by using information provided by drug-checking services to promote ‘the safety’ of their product.”

The inquiry was initiated by Reason MP Fiona Patten, who calls the bipartisan report’s recommendation to introduce back-of-house pill testing for authorities a “very good first step”, but adds that she “would have possibly liked it to be bolder”.

Greens MP Nina Springle agrees, telling the ABC it’s frustrating that the government continues to shun a roll out of life-saving drug checking services for punters.

“We will not see a decline in overdoses until we put harm minimisation measures like this into action,” she argues.

“How many more people need to overdose before the Labor Government understands the current approach is not working?”

It comes after a secret pill testing operation at a Victorian music festival last November showed traces of deadly substances.

The nation’s first ever public pill testing trial was planned to take place at Canberra’s Spilt Milk festival late last year, but was cancelled under controversial circumstances.

 

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