Top Menu

In the News RSS feed for this section

Rethinking drug policy key to helping people

Greens MP and Drug Law Reform and Harm Reduction spokesperson Cate Faehrmann says she is launching a new campaign for drug law reform in NSW. The campaign has four demands: allowing pill testing services at mobile and fixed sites; regulating and taxing cannabis; decriminalising the personal use/possession of all drugs, and; replacing the current Roadside Drug Testing Scheme to testing for impairment. […]

Queensland government urged to trial pill testing

“Pill Testing Australia, that conducted the trial, has released data in relation to the April 2019 festival. However, the independent evaluation by the Australian National University is not due until the end of this year. “The Queensland Government is awaiting the outcomes of this independent evaluation to inform any further policy decisions in relation to pill testing.” […]

Schoolies 2019: MP calls for pill testing at Schoolies

Bonney MP Sam O’Connor in a Question on Notice asked Health Minister Dr Steven Miles what current investigations the government was undertaking into pill testing and had it considered trialling the systems at music festivals and the end of Year 12 celebrations in Surfers Paradise. The rookie Coast MP has targeted Labor on drug testing after speaking with teens at parties and his own experience watching a drug testing trial at Splendour in the Grass. […]

Australia could be the first country to legalise ecstasy – are we going too far?

People need time to think about it. Despite the breakthroughs, the politics of this is still fiercely difficult. But, on the other hand, let’s remember what’s important about this: it’s human life, the sacredness of human life and also the difficulty that young people have in the world today. Drug reform makes a material difference to young people – it’s about their future health and safety. […]

Coalition’s welfare drug-testing trial ‘fatally flawed’, inquiry told

As the Coalition seeks the support of the Senate to drug test 5,000 people on Newstart and Youth Allowance in three trial sites, health and drug treatment experts lashed the proposal at a hearing in Canberra on Wednesday, arguing the government was proceeding in the face of all available evidence. “The organisations are unanimous in their opposition to this drug-testing trial,” said Adrian Reynolds of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. […]

Now that the ACT has given marijuana the green light, could (and should) MDMA be next?

Is regulating ecstasy the next logical step after pill testing and decriminalisation? Alex Wodak thinks it is. Dr Wodak, who is president of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, has been advocating for drug law reform for decades. In collaboration with Gino Vumbaca and Kate Dolan, Dr Wodak introduced needle syringe programs in Australia in 1986 to stem the spread of HIV. […]

Wodak & Shoebridge on Scipione’s Talk of Drug Law Reform

Former AFP commissioner Mick Palmer is renowned for asserting that Australia can’t arrest its way out of the drug problem. And he’s not the only ex-top brass turned drug law reformist. There’s once NSW police commissioner Ken Moroney, as well as ex-Tasmania police commissioner Jack Johnston. And now, former NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione has joined their ranks. […]

Former NT Police Commissioner backs ACT on legal cannabis

Former NT Police Commissioner Mick Palmer AO has welcomed the “courageous decision” by the ACT parliament to pass a bill legalising cannabis possession for personal use. Mr Palmer, who also served as Australian Federal Police Commissioner until 2001, said the laws would “put control into a completely uncontrolled environment”. “It’s a decision that will improve safety for young Australians who are vulnerable to making decisions to buy things from an unregulated and totally uncontrolled marketplace,” he said. […]

Port Phillip Council renews pill testing trial call

With the music festival season about to start, the City of Port Phillip is renewing its call to be home to Victoria’s first pill testing trial. “In 2017, our Council asked the Victorian Government to immediately legislate to allow and fund pilot pill testing facilities at ‘consenting clubs, festivals and dance parties in Port Phillip to minimise the harms associated with illicit drugs’,” Mayor Dick Gross said today. […]

Enough evidence to support introduction of pill testing in NSW, inquiry told

A world expert on drug policy has told an inquiry into the drug ice and other amphetamines, including MDMA (ecstasy), that there is “sufficient evidence” overseas and in Australia to support the introduction of drug or pill testing in NSW. Professor Alison Ritter called for a trial of pill testing at festivals in evidence to the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug ‘Ice’ and other amphetamines on Monday. […]

Festivals fuel Vic pill testing appeal

Victorian upper house MP Fiona Patten has issued an appeal for pill testing on the cusp of the music festival season, with the Listen Out event running in St Kilda this weekend. “We are crying out and calling on the government to prevent any lives from being lost,” the Reason Party leader told reporters on Monday. […]

Pill testers working on plans for static drug-checking sites

Canberra emergency department physician, Dr David Caldicott revealed the group was developing a proposal for a testing service at a fixed location. “We’re already working on static sites. I can’t tell you where, it’s top secret. But needless to say there are people in this room who are involved,” Dr Caldicott said. […]

He was the top cop in NSW and couldn’t help a friend in a drug crisis

Former NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione says the system of dealing with people using drugs isn’t working, and has supported measures that give police the discretion to issue cautions or infringement notices. He told a roundtable on decriminalisation of amphetamine-type substances that NSW had failed to stop people from experimenting with drugs and going on to have lives that are” significantly impacted by drug use over many years”. […]

Addiction specialists warn welfare drug testing will do more harm than good

Addiction expert Dr Stephen Bright told The New Daily “it’s absolutely probable” that Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients using any of the five targeted drugs would move on other substances that are undetectable by the test. “The drugs people move to as a way of evading drug testing are often significantly more harmful than the drugs they’re testing for,” Dr Bright, senior lecturer at Edith Cowan University, said. […]

The deeper problems with Government drug testing

Drug testing of welfare recipients has been on the LNP agenda for quite a while now. As an ex-drug user who has successfully become stable and clean for a few years now, I can see that this idea will be impossible to orchestrate and carry out successfully without chaos and sky-high expense. […]

Police fail to block strip-search reports

A coroner has rejected NSW police claims that reports on the force’s strip-search procedures are beyond the scope of an inquest into drug-related deaths at music festivals. Deputy state coroner Harriet Grahame on Thursday said she was satisfied the inquest could appropriately consider what police search practices had on the method of consumption of Ms Ross-King and young festival patrons in general. […]

Fresh warnings drug testing welfare recipients would ‘stigmatise’ most disadvantaged

The Australian Council of Social Service is among 40 welfare and medical groups who have previously warned against the plan, including the Australian Medical Association. “Many health experts have expressed concern that drug testing income support recipients is ineffective and could threaten the health and wellbeing of people affected,” Ms Phillip said. […]

‘It’s not effective as a deterrent’: Why sniffer dogs can do more harm than good

RMIT University legal studies lecturer Dr Peta Malins said sniffer dogs ultimately failed to fulfil their purpose of striking the heart of the underground drug trade. Instead of catching dealers, they catch low-level users who might bring a single joint or a pill to a yearly festival. “The key thing I found is drug dogs are not deterring people from using drugs,” she told […]

Renewed push to drug test ‘vulnerable’ welfare recipients criticised

GP and addiction medicine specialist Dr Paul Grinzi told newsGP the new bill may still worsen outcomes in the longer term. ‘The Minister fails to understand that living with an addiction brings about issues of blame, stigma and shame,’ he said. ‘Drug testing these vulnerable members of our community is only going to perpetuating these issues, not “assist” in any sort of long-term recovery. […]

Rebuilding from the rubble of the failed war on drugs

There is hope. Both academia and the legal profession have long declared that the war on drugs was lost. In 2011 a Law Commission review recommended the government repeal the Misuse of Drugs Act and create a new act under the ministry of health. The commission argued in favour of a health-based approach, particularly in cases with a strong element of addiction. […]

Legalisation key to ending war on drugs, says author Antony Loewenstein

Mr Loewenstein said there was growing worldwide evidence of the benefits an end to the prohibition of illicit drugs would bring. One example was a 2018 Harvard University study that found legalising drugs and instead taxing and regulating their sales would save governments in the United States alone US$106.7 billion each year. […]

Pill testing in Tasmania

“Pill testing services never condones drug use, and it reduces the potential for tragic outcomes and harms for the people taking risks,” Vumbaca said. “It is a health and medical service, and as members of the community and parents we should always be seeking to make sure that young people are kept safe and return home after a night out, and that is our simple goal at Pill Testing Australia.” […]

‘Abuse of power needs to stop’: Why drug dogs and strip searches just don’t work

Experts say the practice is legally questionable due to restrictions on anyone but a medical practitioner conducting a body cavity search. Research suggests the overwhelming majority of drug dog searches are also fruitless; more often than not, no drugs are found, yet those stopped are still made to endure procedures such as strip searches and “squat and cough” tests many have described as “traumatic” and “dehumanising”. […]

Pill Testing Australia to meet with Tasmanian Government

Pill Testing Australia co-founder Gino Vumbaca said he would provide an explanation on how pill-testing services operated and provide evidence to support a trial in Tasmania. “For many, using pill testing services will be the first opportunity for them to talk to a health professional about their drug use and in some cases will lead to them deciding not to consume the drug or moderate their behavior to reduce the likelihood of harm,” he said. […]

Harm Reduction Australia & Pill Testing Australia: A Message to All Parliamentarians

To be clear, the message we always give to every person using our service is simple – if you do not want to encounter drug-related harm the safest way to ensure that is not to use drugs – if they still choose to use the drug after the comprehensive consultation with our analytical, medical and brief intervention teams, then we ensure they are provided with the best knowledge and information of how to reduce the risk of harms and encourage them to seek help in the event of an adverse reaction. […]

Report confirms what we thought – pill testing saves lives so let’s make it routine

While other jurisdictions struggle to get the elements in place to even run a trial, here in the ACT we must contemplate how we make this regular and routine. The report unsurprisingly makes calls for regular pill testing to be part of other music festivals, as well as delivering pill testing in other settings including the idea of a permanent pill testing facility. […]

New pill testing report released

Dr David Caldicott, an emergency physician with a special interest in toxicology who co-authored the PTA report, told newsGP he was extremely pleased with the findings. He believes a key value of pill testing lies in the opportunity it provides for face-to-face education. ‘I think it provides more evidence that the process of pill testing does what it claims to do, in that we can identify new drugs and persuade young people not to take them at music festivals,’ Dr Caldicott said. […]

New ad shines light on pill testing at Australian festivals

The ad was released alongside Pill Testing Australia’s (PTA) second report from Groovin The Moo in Canberra on April 28. The advocacy group explained it will no longer be footing the hefty bill to provide the services but stated how it believed the machine had potentially saved lives. PTA tested 170 substances for 234 revellers, finding seven of the samples contained N-Ethylpentylone, a highly toxic chemical blamed for festival drug deaths. […]

Pill Testing Australia reveal findings from their second pilot at Groovin the Moo 2019

“Pill testing services offer a unique and efficacious opportunity to engage with young people and effect positive behavioural change to reduce the risk of drug-related harm,” said Dr David Caldicott, an Emergency Medicine Consultant who oversaw the clinical team at both pill testing pilots in Canberra. “This cohort is unlikely to have ever had contact with health services in relation to their drug use.” […]

Drug Research Ignores Stable or Pleasurable Use—And That’s a Problem

Understanding self-regulating drug use as an everyday experience for many people allows us to envision an end to the drug war that doesn’t require an end to drug use. Instead, with a deeper understanding of self-regulation, we can move to end the criminalization of drug use—whether the use is “problematic” or not—and focus on expanding care and support for everyone who uses drugs. […]

The Elephant on Stage

Drug users should not be treated as the enemies of festivals, they account for a large proportion of festival-goers and bring in vast amounts of money for organisers. If a festival attracts a certain crowd and pattern of behaviour due to its choice of music, it should go out of its way to protect this group. […]

High School Student Hits Back At Gladys Berejiklian’s Pill Testing BS On ‘Q&A

Berejiklian’s appearance on the panel comes a day after Pill Testing Australia released its report on the April Groovin The Moo trial, which identified seven samples containing the potentially deadly substance n-ethyl pentylone before they could be consumed. Among its other findings: in addition to the professional analysis offered to everyone who had their pill tested, nearly 20% of people who attended the pill testing tent for a brief intervention with peer support workers left with harm-reduction literature […]

A new study supports pill testing, but politicians still refuse to take action

I’d like to think we’ve moved past the point where abstinence is a practical end goal for everyone. Pill Testing Australia says it succinctly in the report: “No matter how strong our desire for people not to use drugs or our efforts at education and prevention, people will continue to use drugs.” […]

Groovin’ the Moo pill-testing trial unveils seven ‘toxic’ tablets

The ACT government is being urged to introduce Australia’s first ever fixed-site community drug testing facility after the discovery of a number of potentially fatal substances during a pill-testing trial held in Canberra. Pill Testing Australia held its second trial at the Groovin’ the Moo festival in Canberra in April and found seven pills containing the highly toxic chemical N-Ethylpentylone, a drug associated with deaths and mass casualty events in the US and New Zealand […]

The Full And “Somewhat Unexpected” Results of Australia’s Second Pill-Testing Trial Are In

In their official report, PTA have further outlined the trial’s effects. Noticeably, PTA announced an “unintended benefit”: punters who had their pills tested and found unexpected substances would spread word to friends with pills (assumedly from the same batch), who would return with those friends to also get tested. According to the report, this happened “on several occasions […]

New Report Shows Just How Successful Groovin The Moo’s Pill Testing Trial Was

“Prohibition is a policy of rejection and of saying we don’t care about drug users. Pill testing shows we take their health seriously. We must acknowledge the current approach is resulting in unintended consequences and instead choose policies that have worked elsewhere. It’s time to get over the stigma and just test the pills.” […]

To arrest drug use harm, we can’t just rely on arrests

Dr David Caldicott, an emergency medicine specialist, said the increase in arrests and seizures related to drugs like heroin and hallucinogens did not mirror trends seen in hospitals. He said drugs policy in Australia had three key pillars – reducing supply, reducing demand and reducing harm. While it was important to reduce supply, two-thirds of the money spent on drugs policy in Australia was dedicated to policing. […]

Unlawful strip searches are on the rise in NSW and police aren’t being held accountable

Strip searches are meant to only be used by officers if they suspect, on reasonable grounds, that it’s necessary “for the purpose of the search” and there are “serious and urgent” circumstances that make it necessary. But the law provides no other criteria to guide police. In a non-policing context, having to perform such non-consensual acts would constitute a serious assault. […]

Seattle Has Figured Out How to End the War on Drugs

Seattle is undertaking what feels like the beginning of a historic course correction, with other cities discussing how to follow. This could be far more consequential than the legalization of pot: By some estimates, nearly half of Americans have a family member or close friend enmeshed in addiction, and if the experiment in Seattle succeeds, we’ll have a chance to rescue America from our own failed policies. […]

New data reveals over 20 per cent of pill testing participants were underage

ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury said the news that majority of the people attending the pill testing tent were teenagers underlines the positive effect of pill testing. “These are people who don’t necessarily have a lot of information and pill testing does provide that opportunity to access that information,” Mr Rattenbury said. “It is a concern that they are taking these drugs but I hope that the educative process fully explains to them the dangers involved.” […]

NSW Police’s use of strip searches skyrocketing, report finds

The research, commissioned by Redfern Legal Centre, has revealed there has been an almost 20-fold increase in the number of searches in the past 12 years. The study found between 2014-2015, and 2017-2018, searches in the field found nothing between 62.6 and 65.6 per cent of the time. […]

Rethinking Strip Searches by NSW Police

A strip search is the most invasive form of personal search available to police without a court order,” Dr Sentas says. “Yet over the past decade we have seen the number of strip searches continue to rise. Our findings reveal such searches are doing little to tackle serious drug crime.” […]

‘Extraordinary rise’ in strip-searches by NSW police fuelled by use of sniffer dog

“Saturation policing with sniffer dogs at music festivals and railway stations or forcing teenagers to remove their clothes in the back of police vans does not make the community safer,” said one of the report’s co-authors, the UNSW lecturer Vicki Sentas. “We need a serious discussion about how best to reform the law so that the police cannot abuse their powers.” […]

Pill testing – harm minimisation saves lives

We can’t possibly prevent all risk-taking harms but we can act to reduce the risk and minimise the harm. Just ‘saying no’ and believing that your kids, nieces and nephews, grandchildren and kids of your friends wouldn’t or don’t take drugs is nave and denies the reality of youth culture. […]

‘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 may be the only opportunity a person in that situation has to reconsider their decisions.” […]

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. […]