“Pill Testing” at music festivals expected by the end of the year
Expect “mass arrests” by NSW Police, after the plan to roll out the first ever pill-testing facilities in NSW. Deputy Premier Troy Grant slammed the life-saving service as a “very dangerous regime that the NSW government fundamentally rejects”.
Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation President Dr Alex Wodak has teamed up with emergency medical specialist Dr David Caldicott for the pill testing trial, and they’re determined to pull it off, with or without the support of the NSW Government.
“We are going to do this,” says Dr Wodak. “Doctors, analysts who know how to operate the [testing] machines and peer interviewers who can translate the scientific results and explain to people why the drug they bought is talcum powder or highly toxic. The idea is to save lives. I am prepared to break the law to save young people’s lives.”
Deputy Premier Troy Grant has threatened to charge those who plan to implement the pill-testing program with drug possession and supply, as a result of this the program’s founders are now expecting the worst as Police intent to swoop on those facilitating the pill testing program.
Will Tregoning, the founder of drug law reform agency “Unharm”, says the pill-testing procedures will be carried out inside a van staffed with toxicologists, and shielded from police by barriers of supporters willing to risk arrest to protect others from prosecution. Mr Tregoning told SMH “we absolutely have to create that sense of trust around the service,” “one way we will be doing that is by ensuring there are very many supporters of the service present to essentially created a buffer from police activity for consumers accessing the service.”
Mr Tregoning believes that the buffer zone was designed in order to obstruct police efforts to identify the person in possession of the drugs, and would potentially lead to mass arrests. If this eventuates, we can expect that NSW Police will be charging many with Hindering a Police Investigation.
Tregoning works alongside two other drug reform advocates – President of the Australian Drug Reform Foundation Alex Wodak and emergency medical specialist David Caldicott. Together they are fronting the pill-testing pilot program, which once implemented will provide mobile drug testing facilities at a laboratory grade. The pill-testing will be at music festivals, in order to allow punters to make sure their drugs won’t contain anything life threatening.
Tregoning has stated the pilot is still “months away”, they’re expecting to implement it in NSW by the end of the year. “It need not be in NSW first but the pressure on NSW is not going to stop. It’s going to happen here” he said, adding that they’ve already seen a “flood of support”, especially from festival promoters.
Government stands firm against program, despite overwhelming support for it
A large number of punters are also behind pill-testing, with almost 84% of more than 10,000 Music Feeds readers polled voting in favour of implementing the service.
Despite having a substantial amount of support from leading Australian health groups, a number of drug policy experts, musicians, Stereosonic’s founder Richie McNeil, and even Labor MP Jo Haylen – The state government have still refused to even consider it as an option. Troy Grant says “We’re not going to set up a regime test to for something that’s illegal to see if it’s safe to ingest or not. We’re not going to condone illegal drug-taking, full stop.”
It seems Mr. Grant has forgotten about heroin injecting rooms in Kings Cross.
“If these pills go wrong and kill someone they may well be vulnerable to manslaughter charges” Troy Grant told radio station 2UE.
Trengoning on the other hand stated “As long as government continues to stand in the way of this service they are making it more likely that people will die.”
We tend to agree.