Year-round pill testing can be realised: ACT Greens

Australian Greens

Ahead of April’s Groovin the Moo music festival, the Greens have again called for routine pill testing in the ACT.

It comes following the success of the ACT’s second pill testing trial at Groovin the Moo in April last, which saw at least seven potentially fatal substances binned, rather than consumed-and many saying that they would reconsider their drug use.

Despite receiving national attention for our leadership on this issue, pill testing in Canberra is by no means a guarantee – even at music festivals.

In a move that the Greens described as a “real missed opportunity”, pill testing did not go ahead at Spilt Milk music festival in November.

“Canberra is proof positive that pill testing can help save young lives,” ACT Greens spokesperson for Drug Law Reform Shane Rattenbury said today.

“That said, we can’t just keep relying on different festival organisers to each individually come to the table on pill testing – or on the support of the Federal Government to allow pill testing to go ahead on Commonwealth land.

“Young people and the Canberra community more broadly now rightly expect the ACT to continue to support pill testing at large festivals, and I hope that the ACT Government will continue to support this potentially life-saving approach.

“But we also know that people consume illicit ‘party drugs’ outside of music festivals.

“The solution is simple – we need to make pill testing routinely available throughout the year.

“We know that the war on drugs hasn’t worked. We have to accept that despite all the efforts on enforcement and education, some young people still take illicit drugs.

“If we’re to do everything we can to protect young lives from the risk of unnecessary harm that comes with illicit drug use, we need mobile pill testing sites at music festivals – as well as a fixed pill testing site in place for the rest of the year – to help protect young lives from harm, year-round.”

Greens work to realise pill testing in the ACT

Drug law reform – The Greens leading the way

The Australian Greens have led the way on the push for pill testing across Australia, labelling opposition from the other parties to this important harm reduction measure as “wilful ignorance“.

In August 2019, Victorian Greens MP Dr Tim Read brought forward a Bill calling for two pill-testing services to be trialled for two years: a free mobile pill-testing facility to be used at festivals and a fixed-site lab for drug analysis. The Bill did not receive support from Victorian Labor Premier Daniel Andrews.

In November 2019, the NSW Greens called on the Government to commit to a pill testing trial following recommendations from a landmark inquest into drug deaths at music festivals – a move unsupported by NSW Liberal Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

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