A pill testing pilot could commence as early as next year under a Bill set to be introduced by the Victorian Greens.
The Bill would establish pill testing services which would be free for users – a mobile facility for festivals and a fixed-site laboratory for more detailed analysis.
Both sites would be licensed for two years with the potential for a four-year extension following a review.
Drug law reform spokesperson for the Victorian Greens, Dr Tim Read, said that prohibition has failed and resulted in life-threatening behaviour from young people attempting to avoid police, and that people who use drugs should be treated within the health system, rather than punished.
He added that the bill would be called Daniel’s Bill in memory of Daniel Buccianti, who died from a drug overdose in 2012 at Rainbow Serpent Festival.
Pill testing has been shown to reduce drug overdoses, reduce harmful drug use and connect young people to harm reduction services.
Cities with pill testing have also observed a change in the black market, with pills more likely to correspond to the expected ingredient. There have been two successful trials in Canberra and it’s time for Victoria to follow suit.
Pill testing services stand ready to operate in Victoria, and just need the go-ahead from the Government.
As stated by drug law reform spokesperson for the Victorian Greens, Dr Tim Read:
“We need to change the culture of drug use in Australia, and the first step is treating drug use as a health issue.
“There is over 20 years of evidence that shows pill testing reduces overdoses and protects people from the harm of illicit drug use.
“We know that most people choose to throw out their drugs when informed that they contain harmful substances.
“Prohibition is a policy of rejection and of saying we don’t care about drug users. Pill testing shows we take their health seriously.
“We must acknowledge the current approach is resulting in unintended consequences and instead choose policies that have worked elsewhere. It’s time to get over the stigma and just test the pills.”
As stated by Adriana Buccianti, whose son Daniel died from a drug overdose in 2012:
“No parent should have to endure what I went through. But in the last 12 months, at least five other families have lost their child from drug overdoses.
“When Daniel died I made a commitment that I would fight for pill testing and for the legislation to be called ‘Daniel’s Bill’. I’m thankful that is now a reality and I plead with Daniel Andrews to support it so it becomes law.”