Calls for pill testing have been steadily getting louder this summer as more and more Australians grow frustrated while young people come to harm. Harm Reduction Victoria today supports the call to allow a pill testing trial at an upcoming event. This call comes from the majority of incoming crossbench Victorian members, including Reason Party’s leader and Northern Metropolitan MLC Fiona Patten.

“As an organisation of people with lived experience of drug use, Harm Reduction Victoria and the DanceWize program welcome this call from the crossbench for pill-testing in Victoria. The Victorian government has an opportunity to show their progressive leadership of Australia by sanctioning evidence-based pill testing and listening to the growing chorus of requests from festival goers, young people, parents, health experts and scientists as well as the wider community that are requesting this service,” Harm Reduction Victoria CEO Mr. Sione Crawford said.

Harm Reduction Victoria’s DanceWize program is run and staffed by people who are part of the festival scene and who want to offer peer-based care to people needing it at up to 30 events each festival season.

DanceWize Program Coordinator Stephanie Tzanetis says, “people from across Victoria attend festivals every weekend and pill-testing services are effective not only at detecting adulterants in drugs but are an opportunity for health and harm reduction services like DanceWize to engage with a group of people who might otherwise not access health service providers due to stigma related to illicit drug use.”

Harm Reduction Victoria’s DanceWize program is part of the consortium that planned and delivered Australia’s first pill-testing service at the Groovin’ the Moo festival in the ACT last year. This partnership, now called Pill Testing Australia, includes scientists, researchers and peers and provides a template for an effective and evidence-based service that could be started in Victoria immediately.

“Whether drugs should or should not be taken is an issue for another time – the reality is people do take drugs and it is possible to take them more safely,” says Sione Crawford “Daniel Andrews showed compassion for people who use drugs and commendable courage in opening an injecting room in Nth Richmond, and we hope his Labor government continues with this health-focused momentum by working with the crossbench to sanction pill-testing and peer based care for those who access the service.”

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