The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has today backed the Queensland Government’s decision to give pill testing the green light.
It comes following the Government announcing that fixed and mobile pill testing sites will be introduced to chemically test illicit drugs to check for the presence of potentially dangerous substances.
RACGP President and Mackay-based GP Dr Nicole Higgins welcomed the decision.
“This is a huge step forward for my home state of Queensland,” she said.
“It’s a reality that despite the risks and illegality, some people will keep taking illicit drugs. We should not stick our heads in the sand and pretend otherwise, instead we should minimise the harm. Pill testing saves lives, including teenagers and other young people at events such as music festivals, and it’s also a fantastic way of engaging with those who are using drugs. Staff at these services can talk to them free of judgement about why they are using drugs and the issues in their lives that might be driving the drug use. It can make all the difference and change long-term behaviours.
“Every time festival season comes around in particular, we learn of young people with their whole lives ahead of them dropping dead from overdoses. It doesn’t need to be this way; we can look at what has worked overseas and, in the ACT, and save lives. From what has occurred in other jurisdictions, we know that many people who submit drugs for testing don’t take them when they find out what they actually contain. Prevention is better than punitive action, a ‘war on drugs’ mindset gets us nowhere. I call on our nation’s leaders to follow the lead of the ACT and now Queensland and introduce fixed and mobile pill testing sites to save lives.”
RACGP Vice President and Queensland Chair Dr Bruce Willett said it was a momentous day for Queensland.
“This is a victory for common sense and evidence-based policy over misguided ideology and a punitive approach,” he said.