Aussie City Set To Get Nation's First-Ever fixed Pill Testing Facility
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Canberra will be the first Australian city to get a pill testing facility during a six-month pilot trial that will commence next month.
The facility's establishment comes after the 2019 Groovin The Moo Festival had an on-site testing unit trial, which found several dangerous substances in people's drugs pills, including paint, lactose and sweetener, according to Stoney Roads.
Following the festival’s trial, ACT chief minister Andrew Barr said that although the state doesn’t condone illicit drugs, pill testing provides a ‘health intervention’ where people can make informed decisions.
Pill testing does not make taking illicit drugs safe and our message to the community will always be, don’t take drugs.— Andrew Barr MLA (@ABarrMLA) February 18, 2019
However, pill testing provides a health intervention at the point when someone is making the decision to take a pill.https://t.co/nZ5yGdytyS
But now, the city has taken a step towards ending the war on drugs.
The new program will be run by Harm Reduction Australia (HRA) along with Australian National University and local health service provider Directions, as per Canberra Times.
Although the exact location of the venue hasn’t been disclosed, the testing site will operate in the city and be open two nights a week.
HRA president Gino Vumbac hopes the new program will inspire other states to get on board to help provide transparency regarding pill-taking, according to The Guardian.
“We’ll be able to offer [the fixed site] as an ongoing service, then depending on demand; we might increase the number of nights we’re available,” he said.
“What we want to see is other governments having a serious look at this. We hear politicians say there’s no evidence. There’s truckloads of evidence.”
Pill Testing Australia’s Dr David Caldicott also said this was a ‘watershed’ moment for the country.
He said: “We expect that we will have a far better understanding of what’s happening in the drugs market in the ACT, and that people who use drugs will have far less fear about approaching and talking to people who know a lot about drugs.”
He continued: “For all of us who have now been involved in the project over the years, we think that this is a victory for everyone and anyone who has provided the moral support for thinking about drugs in a different way in Australia.”
Dr Caldicott added that he wishes this initiative will make Australia reevaluate its drug jurisdiction leading to law reform.
The announcement of Australia’s first official pill test facility follows the ACT’s decision to decriminalise small possessions of illicit drugs, including ice, heroin, speed and cocaine, after a Legislative Assembly inquiry.