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Pill Testing Gains More Political Support After Groovin The Moo Trial

Written by Tom Williams on May 1, 2018

Pill testing has continued to gain more support from across political lines, following a successful trial run at the Canberra leg of Groovin The Moo on Sunday.

“Deadly” contaminants were found in drugs tested at the festival, in a trial which harm reduction advocates say “worked perfectly” to help protect festival-goers.

Following the trial, Liberal backbencher Warren Entsch shared his support for future trials while speaking on ABC Radio, saying, “How many funerals do we have to go to of people that have taken these substances and found out they’re not what they’re sold?

“Drug dealers are not in there in the interests of those wanting to participate in these drugs.”

Federal Labor backbencher Senator Lisa Singh also backed the trial, saying, “If we are going to get serious about harm minimisation, then pill testing at a health facility at a music festival without fear of police needs to be an option.

“This is about saving lives, and if that is the message we’re talking about here in relation to harm minimisation, then pill testing needs to be part of a suite of harm minimisation measures offered.”

Meanwhile, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt maintained that pill testing remains a state government issue, while a spokesperson for NSW Police Minister Troy Grant said in a statement on Monday that “no test can guarantee the safety of an illegal drug or its effect on an individual”, the AAP reports.

“We strongly urge people not to take illegal drugs,” they said.

Opposition Health spokesman Walt Secord said he was open to analysing data from the Groovin The Moo trial, but maintained that he also wouldn’t support pill testing in NSW.

“I remain sceptical about conducting a trial in NSW but I would be very interested in looking at the ACT results,” he said in a statement to AAP.

Ted Noffs Foundation CEO Matt Noffs, who is part of the STA-SAFE Consortium which operated the pill testing trial at Groovin The Moo, said he was pleased to see “encouraging comments from both sides of politics about pill testing.

“Let’s strengthen this bipartisan support and work together to get it rolled out nationally,” he said.

Police praised crowd behaviour following the first weekend of Groovin The Moo 2018, despite some drug-related charges and arrests. The festival will continue in Bendigo, Townsville and Bunbury this weekend.

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