Doctor Defends Accuracy Of Pill Testing Trial At Spilt Milk Festival

An emergency medicine specialist has defended the pill testing equipment that will be used at this year’s Spilt Milk festival following criticism about its accuracy.

As Fairfax report, Canberra doctor David Caldicott, who is involved in the pill testing trial, said that the equipment that will be used has been tested and trialled internationally.

They have the largest possible “library” which can identify thousands and thousands of drugs. Drugs that cannot be identified will come up as “unknown” and the punter will be strongly advised not to take it.

His defence comes after forensic toxicologist Andrew Leibie said that the on-site pill testing had limitations.

“In the lab we do come across drugs we can’t identify in our tests with much more sophisticated equipment,” he said.

“We all have concerns about the way the science hasn’t been discussed in the media. The science of the process has not been debated and it’s just been reduced to good versus bad.”

He’s not saying that pill testing “doesn’t have a place” but he did say that it’s been “oversold” and it’s no “magic bullet”.

Caldicott, however, said that pill testing is ultimately different to lab testing. “They’re trying to compare lab analysis to festival analysis,” he said.

“It’s kind of like having the best mechanics in the world insisting on telling a Formula One driver how to drive their car.”

He further said that they’re using the equipment in a “different” way to what they do in the lab.

Pill testing was approved for Canberra’s Spilt Milk festival in November after it was rejected for Groovin The Moo in the same city earlier in the year. It’s an Australian first, endorsed by ACT Minister for Health and Wellbeing Meegan Fitzharris who said it’s, “an opportunity to remind [festival-goers] of the risks before they make the final decision to take a drug.”

Catch the full Spilt Milk 2017 lineup below.

Spilt Milk 2017 Lineup

Avon Stringer


Casual Connection


Manila Folder

Megan Bones


Pon Cho



Alison Wonderland



Cashmere Cat

Crooked Colours

Dean Lewis

Dune Rats


Jax Jones


King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard



Remi x Sampa The Great

San Cisco

Super Cruel

Tash Sultana

Vance Joy

Vallis Alps

What So Not

Winston Surfshirt

Spilt Milk 2017

Saturday, 25th November — SOLD OUT

Commonwealth Park, Canberra

Tickets: Official Website

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