As the debate around pill testing gets exceedingly more prominent in both the government and the music community, hundreds gathered in Sydney yesterday to rally for pill testing and urge NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to change her stance on the matter.
The rally included speakers like federal Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale and former president of the Australian Medical Association Dr. Kerryn Phelps.
“I say to the Premier of NSW,” Di Natale said at the rally, according to Junkee. “Indeed, I say to the Premier of every state in this country. I say to my counterparts in Canberra: it’s time you got out of the way and let health professionals do their job.”
“It seems Premier Berejiklian is happy to test pills at an autopsy but not while young people are alive.”
He also reportedly implied that Berejiklian was sending a message of “if somebody makes a choice to take a drug, they should pay for that choice with their lives.”
Dr. Phelps spoke to Sydney Morning Herald, saying that “this is not a matter of left and right, or between young and old it is a matter of life and death and we need to stop the deaths of young people.”
The rally comes a week after 19-year-old Alex Ross-King died from a suspected overdose after attending the Sydney leg of FOMO Festival.
Following her death – the fifth drug-related festival death in just a few months – many groups have called for pill testing to be implemented.
Major festivals across the country have joined forces to create the Australian Festival Association and released an open letters asking authorities and government officials to be more open minded about the issue.
On top of that, peak body of Australian doctors, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, also called for pill testing earlier this week, saying that “the evidence to date shows that existing policies in place at festivals to discourage drug taking, including heavy police presence, sniffer dogs and searches, are not effective.”
Pill testing advocates are rallying at Sydney’s Town Hall right now. Here are some of the best signs. pic.twitter.com/JL7e0hsJPM
— Tom Williams (@tom__williams) January 19, 2019