NSW Premier Will Ignore Coroner's Recommendation To Have Pill Testing At Music Festivals
There has been a coronial inquest into drug deaths at music festivals in New South Wales that has lasted weeks.
The sole intention of the inquest has been to come up with recommendations on how the state should proceed in order to hopefully prevent more deaths from occurring.
Yesterday, a leaked report showed the coroner recommended, after hearing mountains of evidence from stakeholders as well as parents of the people who died after taking ecstasy, that music festivals in the state should be allowed to have pill testing facilities.
Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame also suggested the state get rid of sniffer dogs and change strip-searches at these events. She recommended that the legislation be changed to decriminalise the personal use of illicit drugs as well as other measures that would help monitor drug use in the state.
However, the NSW Premier has revealed that she won't take those on board.
Gladys Berejiklian said: "I went to the election with this position and I won't be changing it. There is no such thing as a safe illegal drug."
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Premier will instead impose safety laws on music festivals and penalise those that don't live up to the standards set.
Ms Berejiklian added on Sunrise: "I respect all coronial inquiries and reports, I respect her position, but we won't be saying yes it's safe to take illicit drugs.
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"All of us care about saving lives but there is no way to take an illicit drug safely. What we need to do is make sure high risk festivals have the health experts and security on hand to prevent young people from dying and getting injured.
"I'm calling on Labor to support this legislation - we want to save lives over the summer."
The government had a safety regulation system in place, however it was overturned by, what Ms Berejiklian calls, 'an alliance of Labor, Greens and Shooters' MPs'.
"Labor, the Greens and the Shooters took away these regulations and left nothing in their place. This legislation will rectify that," Ms Berejiklian said.
"The situation is clear - music festivals identified as high-risk under the former licensing system will continue to be high-risk under this law. These laws provide absolute certainty for the festival industry.
"They impose the same requirements on high-risk music festivals that were in place under the regulations that were disallowed by Labor, the Greens and the Shooters."
The question has never really been about allowing people to take drugs at music festivals, because that has been happening for years despite numerous deaths.
The situation has been centred on whether we should give people the opportunity to see whether the drug they were going to take anyway has potentially deadly ingredients.
Yes, drugs contain bad chemicals, however there are particularly dodgy ones out there that can kill with one dose. Having a facility to detect that chemical would give a potential user the information they need to make an informed decision.
Featured Image Credit: DEA