Pill Testing Trial Given Green Light At This Weekend's Groovin In The Moo Festival
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Pill testing is a fairly controversial topic in Australia, with opponents saying it will only encourage drug use and proponents saying it could save lives.
But after a lot of back and forth, it's been given a trail at this weekend's Groovin in the Moo festival in Canberra, according to news.com.au.
The festival was previously given a trial last year, where 85 tests were done, which detected two potentially deadly substances.
Here is Australia's first official #pilltesting service in numbers:- Matt Noffs (@mattnoffs) April 29, 2018
85 samples tested
50% was 'other' (lactose, sweetener, paint)
50% was pure MDMA
2 of the samples were deadly
So, harm reduced.
We did it.
Hopefully it's a little better than last year's trial, which was criticised for being hard to find. One caller to Triple J's Hack programme said they wandered around for ages trying to find it.
"For some reason the officials nearby couldn't tell us where it was," he said.
One they eventually found it, he explained the process: "Once we got in, there was a board outlining the policies - which included taking your phone off you.
"You had to read the policies and then go into a separate section and sign documents.
"Then they take picture of your pill and take a tiny amount out of it and put it on a piece of paper."
Between 10 and 20 percent of people who had their drugs tested said they were considering chucking them in the bin.
STA-SAFE member Matt Noffs from Harm Reduction Australia told news.com.au: "People were surprised with the kind of stuff that we found in the drugs.
"We had everything from paint to toothpaste. We also found Nutrisweet, which is an artificial sweetener, arnica muscle rub and milk powder."
People have been pushing for pill testing to be available at music festivals after a spate of drug related deaths. There have been a sizeable handful of young people tragically dying as a result of a dodgy pill, leading many to call for changes to be made.
Despite this push for safeguards to be put in place, politicians have shied away from it.
New South Wales Premier Glady Berejiklian said last year: "What would be horrific would be if you had such a regime, something was deemed safe, and you have multiple deaths as a result."
There was a study done in the UK showing there was a 95 percent drop in hospital admissions when pill testing was available.
Maybe this trial this weekend might encourage lawmakers to change their tune.