The ACT Government is supporting the CanTEST Health and Drug Checking Service to extend opening hours in the lead-up to Spilt Milk on Saturday 26 November 2022.
Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said this was to provide more opportunity for people to access the service before attending the festival.
“The Government has been working in partnership with Directions Health Service, Pill Testing Australia and the Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy to ensure festival goers have a pill testing option available to reduce the potential for harm from illicit drug use.
“Despite the best efforts of these organisations, a festival-based service was not able to be established for Spilt Milk. Extending the hours of the free and confidential service at CanTEST will enable more people to access the service, potentially saving a young person’s life.
“The ACT Government does not condone the use of illicit drugs. The safest option remains not to take drugs, and this will always be our advice to the community. However, we know from experience around the world and right here in the ACT that people will use illicit substances at music festivals.
“The ACT Government will continue to work with Pill Testing Australia and music festival organisers regarding arrangements for future festival-based services,” said Minister Stephen-Smith.
The extended hours at CanTEST will be:
- Thursday 24 November 10:00am – 4:00pm
- Friday 25 November 3:00pm – 9:00pm
CanTEST is a free and confidential service that since opening on 21 July 2022 has tested more than 294 samples.
The fixed site drug checking service operated by Directions Health Service is located on the Ground Floor, City Community Health Centre, 1 Moore Street, Canberra.
Quotes from Directions Health Service CEO Bronwyn Hendry
“We’re really pleased to be able to offer extended hours in the days leading up to the Spilt Milk Festival so festival goers are better informed on how they can reduce any potential harms they may experience. Around 5000 people are expected to attend Spilt Milk, so we are anticipating an increase in people seeking CanTEST services, both Canberrans attending and other people coming into the ACT for the festival.
We want to get as many people through as possible and urge Canberrans not to leave it to the last minute. There is likely to be strong demand for testing on the Friday evening before the festival, so it would be really helpful if Canberran’s and others can plan ahead, and if possible, take the opportunity to have the drugs they are considering consuming tested at CanTEST either this evening or on Thursday next week.”
Quotes from Harm Reduction Australia President Gino Vumbaca OAM
While we continue to work through the challenges to keep delivering Festival Pill Testing, which is clear the organisers want, festival attendees want and we need to provide to protect young people, it is so important that the ACT Government has carefully considered all the evidence and established the nation’s first fixed site pill testing site as it enables us the opportunity to reduce some of the harm for those consuming drugs at festivals”.