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Drug Laws - Take Note Debate

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Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
10 October 2023

I take note of the response by the Hon. John Graham, the Minister for Music and the Night-time Economy, in response to the two tragic deaths that happened as a result of people attending music festivals over the October long weekend. I note with disappointment the response that most action on anything that needs to change in the way music festivals are policed and patrons are kept safe will wait until a Drug Summit. We have no idea when that will be. That date has not been set, but we do know it will be after the summer.

I have spoken with quite a few experts as well as families, especially Jen Ross King, who lost her only child, her daughter Alex Ross King, at one of the music festivals in 2019 to an MDMA overdose. When I spoke to Jen Ross King, she was just so heartbroken that this festival season will happen. It is going to be hot and she is very concerned that young people will do exactly what her daughter, Alex, did, which is, when they see the police and the drug dogs as they line up to get into those festivals, they will take all of their drugs at once to avoid detection.

It is not just Jen Ross King who says that, but also the Deputy State Coroner, who inquired into those music festival deaths. It is also the ice inquiry commissioner, who met with hundreds of witnesses and experts and who held so many different forums all around the State to come up with recommendations to reduce the harm from drugs in this State. One of the recommendations of commissioner and Professor Dan Howard was to get rid of drug detection dogs. Both the commissioner and the Deputy State Coroner said that the risk that drug detection dogs pose is too great, and they do cause fatalities. That is proven. The death of Alex Ross King is proof. The Deputy State Coroner found that. Jen Ross King has come out and called for pill testing. She also has called for an approach that is all about reducing harm. We can never stop young people taking drugs. Just Say No does not work. What we can do is keep people safe from those drugs and that should be our priority: to keep people safe and save lives, not to continue with a ridiculous heavy police presence and drug dogs that literally make people consume their drugs at once, with fatal consequences.

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Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
10 October 2023
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