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‘Zero tolerance approach denies the reality’: pill testing debated in Legislative Council

Independent MLC Ruth Forrest introduced the motion which, in an effort to minimise harm related to drug use at Tasmanian festivals and events, asked the government commit to looking into the steps that would need to be taken to conduct a trial in 2019-20 festival season. “Pill testing provides targeted opportunities to educate and counsel a group of people that it can be difficult to engage in education related to drug use at a moment in time when a young person has an opportunity to act. It […]

TAS Labor will not support Ruth Forrest’s pill testing motion

Labor will not support a move to have the Tasmanian government consider pill testing. Independent member for Murchison has accused Labor of “rolling over” and “playing politics” for refusing to support her motion which will be debated in the Legislative Council on Tuesday. […]

NZ: The ‘most significant drug reform in 40 years’ is about to become law

Director of the NZ Drug Foundation Ross Bell praised the government for passing the amendment, but said it was only the first step to wholesale drug reform. “It’s not the reform that we need. It’s not reform that the law commission recommended. Everyone knows that the Misuse of Drugs Act needs more than a few sentences changed. […]

‘The message is not getting through’: The war on drugs is not being won

Greg Chipp, Director of Drug policy Australia argues that “criminalising, persecuting, prosecuting and vilifying” drug users only makes the problems worse. “We need to take control of what is ultimately a health issue not a drug issue,” said Mr Chipp. “Criminalising is not helping, it doesn’t stop people using and it creates a black market with enormous costs.” […]

Break addiction to failed ideology of prohibition

And can politicians please stop listening to Tasmania Police on pill testing? They are not health experts. They live in cloud cuckoo land when it comes to drugs although privately every police officer you speak with thinks the current “just say no” approach to drugs is a huge failure. […]

Victoria could have pill-testing by 2020

A draft of the legislation was revealed today, which sets out what the service would look like. The Bill calls for two pill-testing services to be trialed for two years: a free mobile pill-testing facility to be used at festivals and a fixed-site lab for drug analysis. Both sites would be reviewed after one year and have the potential for a four-year license extension. […]

New pill-testing push as mother of drug victim urges premier to act for ‘greater good’

On Monday the Greens will unveil plans to introduce legislation for a two-year trial, including a mobile pill-testing facility to attend music festivals and a fixed-site laboratory that could test drugs all through the year. The legislation will be known as “Daniel’s Bill” after Daniel Buccianti, who died of a drug overdose at the Rainbow Serpent festival in 2012. […]

‘Abject nonsense’: Former AFP boss slams zero tolerance approach to drugs

Former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Palmer has slammed the country’s “zero tolerance” approach to drugs and has once again thrown his support behind pill testing. Mr Palmer told SBS News on Tuesday it’s time to find a “new way of doing business. If we continue to do what we’re doing, it’s abject nonsense, we’re failing with the best intentions in the world,” Mr Palmer said.” […]

The Guardian view on the case for legalising drugs: time to be reasonable

Drug laws should be designed to minimise damage. This might sound obvious. But the UK’s drug laws – along with those of most other countries – arguably do not have this effect. Indeed there is a strong argument that in many respects the blanket prohibition, under criminal statutes, of substances from cannabis to heroin along with the myriad synthetic substances now widely used to mimic their effects, does more harm than good. […]

Former AFP boss pushes for pill testing

Dr Wodak said the country was a global “laggard” in terms of drug policy reform. He said the arguments for pill testing had already been won but young people were dying at music festivals due to political inaction. “But we’re not seeing the political change,” Dr Wodak said. “The problem is we talk and they die.” […]

Tasmanian Labor to consider motion or bill supporting pill testing on its merit

A motion calling on the state government to explore a pill testing trial this summer will be considered by the Labor party. Murchison Independent MLC Ruth Forrest will move the motion to be debated in the upper house when Parliament resumes this week.  Labor Franklin MHA Alison Standen said Labor would consider the detail and merit of any motion or bill regarding pill testing introduced in Parliament. […]

The secret our politicians are keen to keep hidden

If politicians are going to preach and actively support policies that are “tough on drugs”, as our political leaders continue to do, Australians deserve the respect of an honest conversation with the (statistically) 37 Federal MPs who may have used illicit drugs last year, and the 98 who have used them in their lifetime. […]

Health Minister Greg Hunt rejects pill testing

“I think the social attitudes are changing towards pill testing and the harm minimisation approach,” acting Hobart Lord Mayor Helen Burnet said. “Hobart City Council is not condoning illicit drug use, nor the wrongful use of any drug or alcohol,” she said. “(But) this kind of risk-taking behaviour does occur, and there have been too many deaths at festivals over the last season on the mainland. […]

Pill testing won’t ‘green light’ drug use

Legalising pill testing won’t green light illicit drugs or normalise their use, a drug addiction academic has told a NSW inquest. Ahead of her attendance at the annual north coast Splendour in the Grass music festival, Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame on Friday heard from three expert witnesses on the impacts of legalising such services. […]

Family Of Overdose Victim “Wanted To See” Pill Testing At Splendour, Says Doc

Dr David Caldicott told PEDESTRIAN.TV that punters were distressed by the number of uniformed police officers and sniffer dogs attending to the event’s main thoroughfare over the weekend. There was “clear fear in the faces of people not involved” with the sniffer dogs, Dr Caldicott said, adding he was “very attuned” to the discomfort of punters entering the festival grounds. […]

‘I don’t want another child to die’: Shattered mother of girl, 19, killed by festival drug overdose holds back tears as she campaigns for pill testing at Splendour In The Grass

Ms Ross-King fought off tears as she watched the demonstration and said the testing measure should be implemented immediately.’I guess the disappointing part is that this has been 20 years in the making,’ she told reporters afterwards. ‘Enough is enough. You know, like … enough. It’s getting beyond a joke now.’ […]

‘Enough is enough’: festival victim’s mother wants pill-testing implemented

The mother of a young woman who fatally overdosed at a Sydney music festival said the pill-testing debate was “getting beyond a joke” after she received a first-hand look at the logistics of testing at the Splendour in the Grass festival on Saturday. “This is why I’m feeling like I need to help promote that change and that behaviour because someone else is going into labour and I don’t want their kid, 20 years from now, to be in the same position Alex and our family are.” […]

Mum of teen who died of drug overdose attends pill testing at Splendour

19-year-old Alex Ross King died at the FOMO festival this year after ingesting MDMA pills and on Saturday her mother, Jennie Ross-King, was campaigning in support of pill testing at the popular Byron Bay music festival. Following the demo, Ms Ross-King told journalists: “I guess the disappointing part is that this (pill testing) has been 20 years in the making. […]

Pill testing won’t ‘green light’ drug use

Edith Cowan University psychologist Stephen Bright told the inquiry pill testing offered a way to counsel young people about illicit drug use. “The evidence we have is pill testing doesn’t give the green light or normalise drug use,” he said. “With one in 10 people having already used ecstasy, drug use is already normalised.” […]

‘Stuck in war on drugs’, says NSW Health music festivals consultant

A medical expert who helped draft the NSW government’s music festival guidelines has told an inquest Australia is “stuck in a war on drugs” and sniffer dogs at events are “unhelpful”, leading patrons to undergo riskier behaviours. St Vincent’s Hospital toxicology, pharmacology and addiction medicine specialist Jonathan Brett also said the nation was lagging behind other countries that have instituted pill testing and the “just say no” approach doesn’t work. […]

Make Aust leaders in harm reduction: mum

Outside the court, mother Jennie Ross-King said she had a determination to pursue “every possible option for change” and urged NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian do the same.” Our state government needs to show the same courage as this group of parents have who have lost a daughter or a son, it needs to stop here,” she told reporters outside NSW Coroners Court on Wednesday. […]

Mother of festival drug death victim says Gladys Berejiklian needs to show courage

On Wednesday, outside a NSW coronial hearing into six MDMA-related deaths at music festivals, Jennie Ross-King called on the state government to “show the same courage as these group of parents has, who have lost a daughter or a son”. “It needs to stop here,” she said. “I say this to the premier; premier, thank you for your sympathies. […]

Toxic cocktail of booze, drugs key cause for medical care at festivals

“On-site forensic drug testing services and brief interventions that engage festivalgoers to reconsider their drinking practices are also warranted. “In a society where drug-taking will occur, regardless of what policy or policing measures are in place, aspiring to zero harm for those who use drugs as opposed to zero tolerance to using drugs is a far better solution.” […]

Drug addiction doctor to inquest: Pill testing will work

A drug addiction specialist has told of her “deep concern” over the deaths of six young people who died of MDMA overdoses at NSW music festivals and called for pill testing to eradicate dangerous drugs peddled on the black market. […]

Drug-affected revellers don’t seek help because of ‘dogs with big teeth’ and large police presence at festivals, addiction specialist tells MDMA deaths inquest as she calls for pill testing

Engaging with people around that use and helping them to make the choices that are right for them works very well.’ Addiction specialist Dr Wilson noted that while there’s a difference between recreational drug takers and addicts, safety checking via medically-supervised injecting rooms has helped users create trusting relationships with medical professionals. […]

Music festival deaths inquest hears presence of police gods led to panicked drug taking

Speaking during the second week of the inquest, Dr Hester Wilson stated “(festivalgoers) naturally will be worried that if they seek help, they’re going to get into trouble. “That’s one of the dynamics with the large police presence with dogs … it’s a deterrent.” Dr Wilson said she supported drug safety checking because the evidence showed a punitive approach – to just say no – did not work. […]

Doctor Is Pushing For MDMA And Cannabis To Be Legalised In Australia To Save Lives

Senior research fellow Dr Monica Barrett from the National Drug and Alcohol­ Research Centre says the current government attitude of ‘just say no’ isn’t working. “If pure MDMA with known dosage were available for recreational purposes, the need for a comprehensive monitoring system for novel drugs and emerging drug trends would be less urgent and it is likely that most people who use these drugs would choose the known and pure option,” she wrote for the centre’s submission for the inquest, according to the Daily Telegraph. […]

Friend of Josh Tam says they knew the risk of taking drugs

Choking up, Mr Tam’s friend said they “would never touch MDMA again”. He said it was vital pill testing was available at festivals: “It’s stupid not to have pill testing. I just think how much one death has affected myself and everyone, if we can save one person then we’ve done our job. […]

Pill testing in Tasmania: how we got here

The PTA and Dr Caldicott organised a pill testing trial at ACT’s Groovin’ The Moo in 2018. Dr Caldicott said pill testing was not about promoting the use of illicit drugs, rather a way of giving users information about the risk of taking them. “We demonstrate right in front of them – it works like a magic trick – showing them what’s in their drugs, and many find the reality of the substances disconcerting,” he said. […]

‘Never meant to happen’: the fear and failure behind NSW’s drug deaths

“The idea of believing that saying to young people in possession of drugs ‘just say no’ is an effective message represents either a phenomenal misunderstanding of how the adolescent mind works, or just a lack of concern,” the emergency doctor and pill-testing advocate David Caldicott said this week. […]

Government’s welfare drug-testing plans will end in disaster

“A drug testing pilot would have delivered an ineffective, expensive and harmful regime that would have hindered, not helped Australians struggling with addiction,” noted Associate Professor Adrian Reynolds, President of the Royal Australian College of Physician’s Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine, in a celebratory statement when the proposal was first dropped. […]

Parents warn of more music festival drug deaths as inquest begins

“So called recreational drug use will not magically disappear. In fact, in all likelihood, it will get a whole lot worse. Just saying don’t do it, we must all now agree, isn’t working. This is a health management issue. People are dying. I’m 100 per cent certain that if our son knew the risks, he wouldn’t have taken the steps he did that day we wouldn’t be grieving his loss.” […]

Festival overdose victim took multiple pills before event ‘to avoid police detection’

In Ross-King’s case, counsel assisting the inquest Peggy Dwyer said, the presence of police at the festival appeared to be a direct cause for her decision to “double dose” or “double dropping”; taking more than one pill at once, something she said was common. Studies in Australia have shown that almost half of people who used ecstasy at a festival had “double dropped”. […]

NSW music festival deaths inquest begins

Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame will preside over the two weeks of hearings. She said: “They could be any young people who go to music festivals and partake in drugs as many young people do. These are our young people … and we owe them a proper investigation of the circumstances in which they died.” […]

Let’s Drug Test Politicians Before Going After Welfare Recipients

You want to make a real difference, then start at the top: obliterate anyone from the political class who tests positive for drugs, recreational or otherwise. Give the flick to anyone caught wrongly using entitlements. Give the publicly funded, house-owning, raise-getting, multiple mistake-making political class no opportunities for slip-ups because, quite frankly, they don’t deserve them. […]

The Case For Legalizing All Drugs

Put simply, there is no legitimate or moral claim for maintaining prohibition today that can be backed by evidence, while centuries of evidence can show that prohibition is not only a racist, costly failure, but a direct cause of more harm than drug use could ever create. […]

It’s High Time to Decriminalise Drugs

NSW Greens MLC Cate Faehrmann outlined that the ice inquiry has heard compelling evidence from numerous experts. This includes the Public Defenders Office, which noted in its submission that former law enforcement officials have stated, “Australia cannot arrest its way out of the methamphetamine problem”. “A decriminalised model would ensure people are able to seek help when they need it by diverting resources away from the criminal system and towards the health system,” Ms Faehrmann continued, adding that police would then be able to “tackle serious crime like domestic violence”. […]

Grieving parents call for national pill testing after son’s death

The parents of a Brisbane boy lost to drugs at a music festival want pill testing introduced nationwide. Josh Tam’s parents have urged the Coroner to introduce pill testing at music festivals right across the country.”Provide them with a choice whether or not this is a good thing for them,” said Julie. […]

Decriminalise drugs before overdose destroys more lives

Decriminalisation is not legalisation. Under decriminalisation, criminal sanctions would still be applied to the dealers, manufacturers and importers who are profiting from the illegal drug trade. Instead, we merely change what happens if police find you with a small amount. We try to help, rather than giving you a criminal record. […]

Why No Human Rights Section in 2019 UNODC World Drug Report?

The report recognizes that the lack of “Effective treatment interventions based on scientific evidence and in line with international human rights obligations” for all people who use drugs is a failure—yet no mention is made of the actual violations of those obligations. […]

Illegal drug classifications are based on politics not science

Illegal drugs including cocaine, heroin and cannabis should be reclassified to reflect a scientific assessment of harm, according to a report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy. The commission, which includes 14 former heads of states from countries such as Colombia, Mexico, Portugal and New Zealand, said the international classification system underpinning drug control is “biased and inconsistent”. […]

Let’s get real about the war on drugs

A strong body of evidence suggests that the criminalisation of drugs has undermined the community’s ability to deal with drug use as a health issue – and this is the case for cannabis. Submissions to the ACT Government inquiry pointed out the difficulty of having an open dialogue with young people and family members who use cannabis given the stigma associated with the criminalisation of cannabis. […]

NZ: Demand for drug checking doubles, harm reduction catches on

The survey findings suggested that people are aware that taking drugs is risky, but without harm reduction advice they are less aware that it’s possible to mitigate those risks. 87% of clients who had used KnowYourStuffNZ’s services before said that their approach to taking drugs had changed as a result of the advice they had received. […]

Time to aim for death-free festivals

“We provide our service within the medical precinct of a festival where young people can hand over a sample to have it analysed and assessed,” Mr Vumbaca said. “There are a growing number of different and sophisticated testing technologies that are able to accurately indicate what is contained within a submitted substance, give an idea of its purity and even the nature of some of the cutting agents used in the manufacturing process. […]

Compassion, not judgement, needed on illicit drug use

“Figures released from the Victorian government show that more than 2,200 clients have used the service, and staff have safely managed more than 650 overdoses that may have otherwise been fatal. “The facility is literally saving lives, and this must be at the forefront of all of our conversations about this particular site and any other facility’s future.” […]

‘Number one drug’: ice use surges among traumatised teens

The Ted Noffs Foundation’s CEO Matt Noffs said 80 per cent of program participants have mental health issues, and the public had to recognise drug use was not simply a “bad choice” but intrinsically linked to poverty and traumatic upbringing.He said mental health services had done well to reduce stigma, but in the field of drug and alcohol addiction there was a long way to go. […]

‘Compassion’ drives support for pill tests

One barrier to treatment – social stigma – has consistently been raised by experts and drug users alike during this week’s hearings in Sydney. “The kids come in with so many labels that you’re a drug addict, you’re a junkie, you’re scum, you’re all these different things,” Mr Ferry told the commission. […]

Sniffer dogs drive overdoses, inquiry told

Sniffer dogs and punitive policing are driving up the number of drug overdoses at music festivals and causing other problems in NSW, a special inquiry has been told. Festival-goers often “preload” before entering a venue by downing an excessive amount of alcohol and drugs, according to NSW Users and AIDS Association chief executive Mary Harrod. […]

Dozens of Groovin the Moo attendees taken to Townsville Hospital

The hospitalisations come just a week after pill testing at the Canberra Groovin the Moo was herald as a success. The program tested 171 samples from 234 attendees. Seven dangerous substances were detected, with patrons using an amnesty bin to toss the drugs once alerted. But, despite the success, the Tasmanian government is still staunchly opposed to the practice. […]

Geraldton residents and Gov ministers debate drugs

A Geraldton lawyer has called for the complete legalisation of all illicit substances — including heroin, meth and cocaine — a move he says is the only way to stop the poor and addicted from stealing to feed drug habits. “People are always saying the magistrate should just lock them up,” Mr Giudice said. […]

Pill testing: head of NSW inquiry into amphetamine use visits ACT trial

Ahead of the first hearing of the government-commissioned inquiry into the drug “ice” on Tuesday, Guardian Australia can reveal commissioner Dan Howard SC attended a pill testing trial at the Groovin the Moo festival in Canberra last month. The commissioner’s chief operating officer, David McGrath, told Guardian Australia Howard’s visit was about helping to “form an opinion about the merits or otherwise” of substance testing ahead of the inquiry. […]

Groovin the Moo: Fewer emergency department visits for Canberra over Townsville

Pill Testing Australia carried out its second trial at the Canberra event, with its organisers saying it was an “overwhelming success”. Pill testing Australia says those carrying the dangerous drugs used the amnesty bin provided after learning about the potential harm they could cause. “What the trials in Canberra show is we’re able to help people avoid taking dangerous substances,” President of Harm Reduction Australia, Gino Vumbaca told […]

Pill testing discussion should rise above politics

Pill testing might be the thing that saves someone’s life – it might end up being the deterrent that stops a person from taking drugs in the first place. And if it saves even one life – then it’s something worth having a discussion over. The discussion over pill testing is bigger than politics – let’s talk. […]

Pill-testing passes festival test with flying colours

Professor Caldicott said it would be “lovely” to see a statement of support from the RACGP, even though president Dr Harry Nespolon and Hester Wilson, chair of the college’s Specific Interests Addiction Medicine network, were already on the record as backing pill-testing. Dr Nespolon said while it wasn’t a perfect method, no test was going to provide perfect quality control “for drugs that have been manufactured in backyards”. […]

Police drug detection dogs encourage festivalgoers to preload, study finds

A study by RMIT University criminology researcher Peta Malins found dog squads are failing to deter drug-taking because festivalgoers are “preloading” or swallowing pills in a hurry before they are stopped. She said the implications of being searched by police during drug detection dog operations went beyond short-term public humiliation. […]

ACT Government to consider directly funding pill testing at future events

“We will have a number of options about the extent to which pill testing is a regular feature of music festivals here in the ACT or potentially a more regular feature of our drug policy and harm minimisation approach, which can include funding provided to Pill Testing Australia,” Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris said. […]

Townsville Groovin the Moo festival goers back Queensland pill testing trial

Mr Harper was one of several MPs who travelled to the ACT for a pill-testing demonstration one day before the trial. “There’s interest there (in pill testing); I wouldn’t have gone down there if there wasn’t,” he said. “After 25 years as a paramedic, having transported people out of our own Groovin the Moo festival … there is harm minimisation with pill testing. […]

Gladys Berejiklian Still Denies Pill Testing Works, Despite More Evidence Showing That Pill Testing Works

Seven substances presented contained n-ethylpentylone, which could have potentially fatal effects, and all seven of them were discarded according to the patrons’ wishes. Now if this isn’t proof that pill testing works, we’re not too sure what is. But, alas, it’s still not enough for Gladys. Via The Music, Berejiklian spoke to 7 News and said there’s still no evidence that pill testing works. […]

The Results Of Australia’s Second Ever Pill Testing Trial Are In

Speaking to Sunrise this morning, pill testing advocate Dr David Caldicott said he was pleased with the results, which indicated that festival-goers desperately want more information on what they’re consuming. “There was no hesitation for binning the more dangerous products,” he said. “One thing that should be emphasised is that when they were told about the potential hazards, many were shocked. […]

Take a look inside Groovin the Moo’s pill-testing facility

Representatives from Queensland Health, the New South Wales Coroner’s Office, New South Wales Special Commission of Inquiry into Ice usage and a group of Victorian crossbenchers were among the visitors at the pill-testing facility on Saturday afternoon. The ACT is currently the only jurisdiction in Australia to allow pill-testing. […]

Australia’s second-ever pill testing trial given green light

Pill testing will be given its second-ever trial at this weekend’s Groovin The Moo festival in Canberra. The green light for testing was given by the ACT Government to the regional touring event — the same festival which hosted the first trial. […]

Everything you need to know about pill testing at Groovin the Moo Canberra

While thousands of music lovers will descend on Exhibition Park on Sunday for the Canberra leg of Groovin the Moo, the eyes of the nation will be on the festival for a different reason. Doctors, chemists and counsellors will be on site carrying out the second legal pill testing trial in Australia, the results of which could help change drug policy across the country. […]

Festival pill-test trial gets go-ahead

The second pill-testing trial in Australia will go ahead at a Canberra music festival this weekend. Organisers of Groovin The Moo Festival have given party¬goers the green light to test their drugs on Sunday, a move supported by ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr. The trial will be run by Pill Testing Australia, which has covered the cost of indemnity insurance and the testing service, estimated to be about $50,000. […]

Retired AFP commissioner argues for decriminalisation of drugs for personal use

“Despite our best endeavours over many years, drugs are as readily available now as they have ever been,” former Commissioner Palmer wrote in a submission to the inquiry. “The market is totally unregulated and controlled by organised crime figures and drug trafficking criminals who make huge profits, pay no tax and who follow no rules other than their own. […]

Berejiklian’s ice inquiry to consider pill testing merits

Australian Medical Association NSW president Kean-Seng Lim said evidence from other countries showed there was “good reason to support a trial of pill testing with appropriate evaluation”. “Pill testing is not a question of just telling someone a pill is safe or not safe, but using it as an engagement opportunity to provide further advice, education and support,” Dr Lim said. […]

Pill Testing Australia launches fundraiser for national tests

As it prepares for its second pill-testing initiative at Groovin’ The Moo in Canberra this weekend, Pill Testing Australia has launched a fundraising campaign on its website. The initial target is $100,000, to buy a couple of schmick pieces of tech to do the testing (ALPHA II FTIR spectrophotometers), assist with logistics, resources and volunteer travel. […]

Pill Testing Australia Launches Fundraiser to Introduce Free Trials Nationwide

“The support from the medical and scientific community for pill testing is pretty much unanimous, no matter what some Australian politicians would have you believe. Over a dozen professional medical bodies, medical, nursing, paramedical and pharmaceutical now stand with us and 20 years of global data shows that shows pill testing reduces drug consumption and reduces harm.” […]

Tributes flow for Ebony Greening and Dassarn Tarbutt who died at the Rabbits Eat Lettuce festival

Queensland’s independent body for drugs and ­alcohol has warned that lives could be at risk if the State Government prolongs the rollout of a pill-testing trial. Queensland Network of Alcohol and Other Drugs Agencies chief executive officer Rebecca Lang said pill-testing had the potential to reduce such tragedies. “I don’t know why we wouldn’t dive in and help young people,” she said. […]

Why do some young people take drugs at festivals and others don’t?

Instead of trying to stop young people taking drugs, which hasn’t been working very well, Professor Rapee suggests parents, the police and lawmakers try to minimise harm – a major argument for festival pill testing. “A large proportion of overseas trials of pill testing have shown that when you have someone standing in front of you, and especially someone in a white coat who has just tested your pills, explaining the risks of the drug, you are actually more likely to throw them away,” he says. […]

Premier watching ACT pill testing trial closely after Queensland festival deaths

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will consider the outcomes of the ACT pill testing trial and Health Committee chairman Aaron Harper will travel to the ACT to investigate. When asked whether Mr Harper would look at harm-reduction measures rather than tougher enforcement, Ms Palaszczuk said both responses were being considered. […]

Talking Point: Busted — Six myths of pill-testing

While offering a pill-testing service will never guarantee that there will be no drug-related deaths at Australian music festivals, the international evidence is indisputable and growing that it significantly reduces the risk. And even though the process may seem counter-intuitive to the “just say no” strategies we’re used to (which are failing), it is one that works. […]

Time for a permanent drug testing site in the ACT to help save lives

It is time for a permanent ACT drug testing site. Evidence shows that accessing drug checking services not only equips people to make informed decisions by providing clarity regarding substance make-up, it connects them with further harm reduction information and support services. If the challenge is to keep our community safe, then this is a test we must not fail. […]

America’s Drug War Is Ruining the World

As the global prohibition effort enters its second century, we are witnessing two countervailing trends. The very idea of a prohibition regime has reached a crescendo of dead-end violence not just in Afghanistan but recently in Southeast Asia, demonstrating the failure of the drug war’s repression strategy. On the other side of history’s ledger, the harm-reduction movement led by medical practitioners and community activists worldwide is slowly working to unravel the global prohibition regime. […]

Pill testing warrants assessment in careful pilot programmes

The fact that the ‘War on Drugs’ has failed does not mean we should give up; indeed, it should be seen as a spur to action. Pill testing will not abolish all the harms associated with drug taking, but if handled carefully, it carries the likelihood of reducing them significantly. […]

Wide Open Space Festival “open” to pill testing in 2020

“The great myth about pill testing is just that we’re just telling people what’s in their pills,” Dr Caldicott said. “The reality is that we know it works very well in stopping people from taking drugs – or at least changes the way they take drugs so that they don’t have to end up in hospital. […]

Let’s Address Four Common Myths About Harm Reduction

It remains disappointing that despite mountains of supporting research and national lip-service to “evidence-based” approaches, harm reduction interventions still face such strong resistance. Clearly, there are those who still find these approaches scary and are made uncomfortable by them. But research says very loudly that they work, and more importantly, they save lives. […]

Australia’s insane drugs clampdown

In recent weeks, erosion of civil liberties in New South Wales has been taken even further by the state’s government. In the run-up to the state’s election, the ruling Liberal / National coalition has revealed plans to allow warrant-less searches of the homes of individuals previously convicted of dealing drugs. […]

Australian Teens are Taking Twice as Much Ecstasy as Three Years Ago

If there’s one thing the ASSAD data indicates, it’s that the Australian government’s war on drugs—and its flaccid “just say no” campaign—is failing. In Alex Wodak’s view, the best way to minimise harm and ensure that we don’t “see young people die” is not necessarily to try and stop them from taking ecstasy, but rather to implement systems which make those drugs, and the environments in which they’re taken, as safe as possible. […]