Top Menu

In the News RSS feed for this section

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. […]

Australia becomes first country to recognise psychedelics as medicines

Associate Professor David Caldicott, an emergency department doctor who appeared at the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide to advocate the drugs be used for returned soldiers suffering from psychological trauma, said he was pleasantly surprised by Friday’s decision. […]

The ACT’s bold pill-testing regime

Gino Vumbaca is president of Harm Reduction Australia. He and his team are behind the trial of the new facility which runs tests on drugs to make sure they’re safe for the user to take. He says trials at music festivals in recent years have undoubtedly saved lives.  […]

Australia needs drug testing and opioid blockers to reduce overdose deaths

If we want to reverse the growing trend of overdose deaths, naloxone, a drug that blocks the effects of opioids, must be distributed to everyone who is interacting with those who are dying, including the police. As well, it is time that we follow Spanos’s recommendation and make pill and drug testing available. […]

‘A disgrace’: Ice inquiry commissioner accuses government of ignoring calls for reform

The commissioner who led the state’s ice inquiry has accused the NSW government of missing a once-in-a-generation opportunity for drug reform and ignoring his recommendations 15 months after handing down a landmark report. Professor Dan Howard SC said he was deeply disappointed with the government’s failure to respond to the 104 remaining recommendations after rejecting five almost outright, including pill testing and another supervised injecting centre. […]

Study finds pill testing at music festivals would not increase ecstasy use

Allowing pill testing at music festivals would not increase the use of ecstasy, research from Western Australia has suggested. The Edith Cowan University study surveyed 247 people and found pill testing at an event or in a fixed, permanent spot had no positive influence on the respondents’ intention to use MDMA. […]

Calls for pill testing at Bass in the Grass as thousands head to Darwin

Last week, NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner said he was open to the idea of a pill testing trial but said for it to work, it would have to be based on the evidence. “We will look at what’s happening down south and make an informed decision off the back of that,” he said. […]

AIVL’s Melanie Walker on Coming Drug Decriminalisation and Treatment Access

The evidence is in. We know that pill testing saves lives. We know that it also leads to some people deciding not to take the drugs that they’ve had tested because they’ve found that they might be dangerous. It really is about allowing people to make informed choices around their drug use and to be sensible around it. […]

What has changed in the year since cannabis possession was legalised in the ACT?

The architect of the legislation, Labor MLA Michael Pettersson, has been pleased with the results so far. But he said the laws were not the end of the road for drug reform, but rather a step towards treating drug use as a public health problem, rather than a criminal one. “For the most part, I think things are pretty similar to what they were before, but I think we’re now heading in the right direction,” he said. […]

Drug Law Reform Is Desperately Needed, Yet Berejiklian Refuses to See Reason

When we discuss drug use in society, let us first remember that most illicit drug use is not problematic and secondly, that if someone we know or love does experience problems, we would want the best help, support and treatment available for them and their family. Its time all our politicians realised, as many voting citizens in the USA have just done, that our current drug policies and laws are not fit for purpose and cause preventable harms and intolerable human rights violations for far too many people. […]

As a police commander, I used to ask myself: was drug use really a matter of crime?

Anything that reduces the antagonism between would-be offenders and the cops is worthwhile. The latter may well then be seen as a catalyst for getting help, therefore making it a far safer situation for all. Allowing police to focus on diversion instead of arresting and charging is going to make the job of police far safer than what it is today. […]

Two-thirds of Australians support pill testing at festivals: Survey

Dr Hester Wilson, Chair of the RACGP Addiction Medicine Specific Interests network, told newsGP she is not surprised by the finding that so many Australians support pill testing. ‘Because it makes sense,’ she said. ‘It’s sensible and we know that pill testing actually assists people to make safer choices.’ Dr Wilson says pill testing plays an important role in harm minimisation. […]

Pill testing support continues to rise but it remains illegal in most of Australia

The researchers call for more discussion surrounding further trials to gather evidence for the strategy’s effectiveness in harm reduction. Without pill testing trials being considered in most states apart from the ACT, let alone implemented, the researchers suggest it will remain a chicken and egg problem until then. “The objection of the states to pill testing is surprising, since the stated goal of both sides of the debate is to save lives,” the study read. […]

Nearly two-thirds of Australians support pill testing at music festivals: research

Nearly two-thirds of Australians support pill testing at music festivals, despite the majority of state and territory governments rejecting proposals to implement the practice. According to data from the 2019 Australian Election Study, a population-representative survey of 2000 Australians following last year’s federal election, 63.4 per cent of respondents said they supported the testing of illicit drugs at festivals. […]

US: Why 2020 Is a Banner Year for Drug Decriminalization—And What It Means for Public Health

These decriminalization measures also address another major roadblock for those seeking help: stigma. “The public-health-based approach of decriminalization centers human dignity and connection,” says Natalie Lyla Ginsberg, policy and advocacy director at MAPS, an organization focused on developing medical, legal, and cultural contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics, including cannabis. […]

NZ: Narrow cannabis result proves need for reform – Helen Clark

“The country is split down the middle on a particular concept of legalisation. And I think there’s every ground now for the government to be looking very carefully at this, beginning to discuss with other parties, including obviously the Green Party, on where to go from here. “What I found as one who got quite involved in the debate was a lot of people said: ‘oh we’d like to decriminalise but legalised as a step too far’. […]

Election Day was a major rejection of the war on drugs

We still don’t know with certainty who will be the next president of the United States. But this year’s election results have given us a lot more clarity on one thing: American voters, even conservative ones, are ready to reel back the US’s war on drugs. In every state where a ballot measure asked Americans to reconsider the drug war, voters sided with reformers. […]

Is it time for a drug policy intervention?

Currently, Australia criminalises people for having a health problem, addiction, but the country needs an alternative to this if there is to be any expectation that it can slow or reverse these trends. The need for change is upon Australians, and the three-pillar approach must become more responsive. Ultimately, the harm reduction leg of this wobbly policy-making stool must include more options, and if it does, all Australians, not just those directly affected by drugs, stand to benefit. […]

Helen Clark appointed chair of the Global Commission on Drug Policy

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has been appointed the chair of the 26-member Global Commission on Drug Policy. Clark succeeds the former President of the Swiss Confederation, Ruth Dreifuss, who has served as chair since 2016. Since its establishment in 2011, the Global Commission has advocated for evidence-informed drug policy. […]

There is a better approach to recreational drugs

Drug use is not a fringe activity and the current prohibition strategy is not a deterrent. Much like during the United States’ Prohibition Era from 1920 to 1933, an enormous black market responds to the high volume of demand. The current system places the police and courts in an endless and costly war against a profiting organised crime world and risks the health and lives of that one in six. […]

Pollies push pill testing for Victorian music festivals

Pill testing could be introduced at Victorian music festivals under a join proposal by The Greens and the Reason Party. If passed by Victorian Parliament, the joint bill would see the establishment of a mobile pill testing service as well as a fixed-address laboratory likely located in Melbourne. The pill testing model, which has been in use in Europe since the 1990s, allows festival patrons to have illicit drugs tested on-site by health professionals. […]

Growing support for pill testing at Aussie music festivals

A new study found that almost three in five Aussies now support pill testing at festivals. The 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey was published last week (July 16) by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2020 and found 57% support it and 27% oppose it. This approval is reflected in the study’s other findings including a call for legalising cannabis doubling from 21% in 2007 to 41%. […]