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New Report Exposes Chronic Under-funding of Life Saving Harm Reduction Services

Executive Director, Dr Annie Madden AO said “this first report in the ‘drug budget’ series in over a decade exposes the ‘clay feet’ of Australian drug policy. For decades Australian governments have sold the lie that Australia’s National Drug Strategy is based on a balanced approach to addressing illicit drug use across supply, demand and harm reduction approaches. […]

Experts Sign Open Letter To Legalise Drugs In New Zealand

Today, a new organisation, Harm Reduction Coalition Aotearoa (HRCA) launched with the submission of an Open Letter to Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, signed by a plethora of professors, academics, researchers, clinicians, health professionals, NGO workers, drug consumers, and members of the public calling for the legalisation and regulation of all drugs. […]

‘A complete 180’: how a trial treatment in Sydney for heroin addiction is changing lives

Hydromorphone is offered as a strong form of pain relief for some hospital patients. Someone with no tolerance might be administered 2 mg at a time. People using it as a pharmacotherapy to wean themselves off heroin could work their way up to taking 200 mg in a single dose. Sydney’s hydromorphone trial is overseen by Prof Nadine Ezard, the clinical director of St Vincent’s drug and alcohol service. […]

Pill testing ‘essential’ for saving lives

The first of those trials of drug checking in Australia was conducted at the Groovin’ the Moo music festival in 2018, by a group that came to be known as Pill Testing Australia (PTA). The story of how that happened is discussed elsewhere (here) but “how” we do it is a matter of record. […]

End use of drug dogs, reduce police presence at future Mardi Gras: study

Associate Professor Vicki Sentas from UNSW Law & Justice says policing outside the Domain Dance party, the Mardi Gras after party and the closing ceremony Rainbow Republic during World Pride events in 2023 was characterised by invasive questioning of patrons, a dubious use of drug detection dog patrols, humiliating and potentially unlawful searches, and instances of use of force. […]

The ice pipeline

Australia is one of the most lucrative markets in the world for methamphetamines. In the year to August 2023, the country smoked, snorted and shot up about 10 and a half tonnes of the stuff — a 17 per cent increase on the year before, and more than double the amount of cocaine. […]

Is Australia winning ‘the war on drugs’?

Some experts, like Professor Jennifer Schumann from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, want to see pill testing introduced more widely, especially at music festival venues where there’s been a recent spate of fatal overdoses. […]

QLD – State first success

Managed by Pill Testing Australia, the event-based service at the festival drew in 257 festival-goers over the course of four days, offering crucial information about the substances they intended to consume. Pill Testing Australia medical lead David Caldicott hailed the festival a success and estimated drug samples from close to 10 percent of festival goers were tested by the service. […]

How much a pill-testing trial would cost Victoria

A two-year pill-testing trial would cost Victoria about $3.7 million, the Parliamentary Budget Office has found, as left-wing crossbenchers pressure the state government over drug reform after overdoses at this summer’s festivals. […]

Report shows MDMA involved in most drug-related music festival deaths | ABC News

Australian National University researchers say MDMA, otherwise known as ecstasy, contributed to more than 65% of all drug-related deaths at Australian music festivals. The report found there were 64 drug-related festival deaths over the past two decades. Co-author David Caldicott says communication around drugs needs to focus on harm reduction and advice, rather than prohibition-style messaging. […]

I was grateful my kids could get their pills tested, if they had any

Over the upcoming hot summer months young people in NSW will be heading to music festivals right across the state but unlike at Spilt Milk, young people will be denied the same chance to know more about any drugs they might be using and to have a conversation with a health professional about their drug use. […]

This stroke survivor wants the government to do one thing in his lifetime

Tony Trimingham wants to see one outcome from his 20 years of drug reform advocacy: that NSW decriminalises small quantities of drugs. Harm Reduction Australia executive director Annie Madden has urged Minns to announce the summit to “get on with the business of saving lives and reducing drug-related harms”. […]

Greens introduce Pill Testing Bill in NSW Upper House

Greens MP and spokesperson for drug harm reduction, Cate Faehrmann, has introduced legislation that would allow a trial of pill testing at music festivals and a fixed site across New South Wales in the Upper House today. […]

Put morality aside — drug liberalization works, says ex-New Zealand PM 

Speaking ahead of the launch of a report showing that the world is failing to reduce HIV and viral hepatitis cases among people who inject drugs, Clark said measures such as drug consumption rooms, needle exchanges and decriminalization would help make progress in combating these infectious diseases. […]

Australia: Medically supervised injecting centres

In Sydney, the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (‘MSIC’) is located at 66 Darlinghurst Rd, Potts Point, across the street from Kings Cross Station. It has supervised over 1.26 million injections and managed 11,205 overdoses. It has been able to offer 22,000 referrals to ongoing care and support accepted by people attending the centre. […]

Experts Have Renewed Calls To Legalise Pill Testing: Here’s How It Works & Where Things Are At

The Greens have renewed their calls for free pill testing, in an urge to the Victorian Labor Government to take up an offer to establish a free pill testing trial. It calls growing calls from all around Australia, as experts say pill testing is essential to saving lives. The offer was made by Harm Reduction Australia and Pill Testing Australia, who want to run a trial at a summer music festival similar to one currently being trialled in ACT.  […]

Wide Support for Cannabis Legalisation in Senate Submissions

There is strong support from more than a dozen key stakeholders across the country for the Greens plan to legalise cannabis. The support comes from organisations as diverse as the Pennington Institute, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform, Australian Lawyers Alliance, Drive Change and Harm Reduction Australia. […]

Greens want debate on pill testing after music festival deaths

Harm Reduction Australia and Pill Testing Australia president Gino Vumbaca said drug-checking services could not operate without the support of government and the police. “The bill would remove any doubt about our permission to operate,” he said. “Politicians are way behind the community when it comes to what people support. This is a public health program to help people get home safely, it’s not promoting or condoning drug use.” […]

Outrage Grows Over NSW Government’s Backflip on Drug Law Reform

NSW premier Chris Minns last week shattered the drug law reform agenda he’d been spruiking pre-election. The Labor leader has pushed his drug summit back to the end of the term and said he has “no mandate” for decriminalising drugs on the day his party colleagues made it law in the ACT. […]

NSW Premier Says No to Drug Decriminalisation, as the ACT Embarks on Bold Health Approach

Finally, this week, drug decriminalisation came to Australian shores. Laws passed by a Labor Greens government in the ACT came into effect on Monday. Yet, on that very same day, NSW Labor premier Chris Minns decided to rain down on Canberra’s parade, telling the Murdoch press that his government isn’t contemplating drug decriminalisation at present, but if he is voted in again, it might contemplate it some time after that. […]

Why medical cannabis patients should be allowed to drive

An effective framework for allowing patients who use medical cannabis to drive is one that prioritises road safety while also recognising the importance of driving for freedom of movement and quality of life, write Dr Thomas Arkell and Associate Professor Vicki Kotsirilos AM. […]

CanTEST on their first 1000 drug tests

Canberra’s drug checking site has now tested 1000 substances.

The harm reduction service reported a majority of users disposing of their illicit drugs when testing found they contained unexpected and dangerous substances.

ABC’s Adam Shirley spoke with Stephanie Stephens, the Director of Service Delivery at Directions Health. […]

No doubting the need, Melbourne needs a second safe injecting room

If there is a lesson to be learnt from Melbourne’s first safe-injecting room in North Richmond, which the state government finally made permanent this month after a five-year trial, it’s that the success of such a facility relies on appeasing the community as much as managing what goes on inside. […]

‘Join the movement’: Minister calls for pill testing trial in NSW

A NSW minister has broken ranks to urge her Labor government colleagues to “join the nationwide movement” toward pill testing at music festivals, while also suggesting controversial policing tactics such as strip searches and drug-detection dogs should be part of the promised drug summit. […]