The war on drugs has failed, and this is very clear when it comes to use of party drugs.
People are still choosing to use drugs with no knowledge of what chemicals they contain, and record numbers are overdosing and dying as a result. It’s time we introduced pill testing in Victoria.
Pill testing – also known as drug checking – can save lives.
Earlier this year nine people were hospitalised in West Melbourne following a mass overdose at an event at Festival Hall. Victorian deaths from MDMA (ecstasy) more than doubled between 2015 and 2016. Many of these overdoses – including deaths – could have been prevented if legal, reliable pill testing services were available in Victoria.
Despite some progressive recommendations contained in a Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Drug Law Reform in 2018, the Andrews Government has flatly refused to consider pill testing as an option. Senior law enforcement officials have spoken out in support of pill testing and the ACT Police supported a recent trial at the Groovin’ the Moo festival.
We know from evidence around the world that pill testing can increase knowledge and engagement with health professionals; result in people deciding not to take illicit drugs; and reduce levels of harmful substances contained in pills. In short, pill testing can save lives.
It’s time Victoria stepped up to improve the safety of people who’ve already decided to take drugs, and to prevent the tragic deaths that will occur if we fail to take action.
The Victorian Greens will work with public health and drug policy experts to develop a two-year pill testing trial in Victoria. This would include mobile services for major events as well as fixed locations in the community.
The Greens have outlined a plan for a national approach to making pill testing services available in our communities.