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.
The Bill will approve a licensing scheme for three mobile pill testing sites and one fixed testing site administered by the Secretary of NSW Health. Mobile testing sites can be established at a concert, festival, dance party or similar event.
“Four years on from the Coronial Inquest into the death of six patrons of NSW music festivals, we’ve still not had a Government with the courage to introduce an evidence-based policy which has widespread public and stakeholder support,” said Cate Faehrmann.
“All the experts agree that pill testing reduces the potential harm from drugs, by alerting people to what’s in a drug they might be about to consume, and by providing vital information as to how to stay as safe as possible if they intend to take it.
“NSW Health puts out public warnings about contaminated or high-dose drugs detected in the community, acknowledging that there is a reason to put pill testing in place. Yet what person under 25 is going to tune in to a tweet or instagram post from NSW Health?
“A pill testing service at a music festival could alert all festival-goers to a dangerous substance in circulation by a text message to all ticket holders. This is what saving lives looks like.
“Several members of the NSW Government have already broken ranks and come out in favour of pill testing this year.
“I urge the NSW Government to put in place pill testing for the summer festival period. Pill Testing Australia, who has conducted successful pill testing operations in the ACT, is ready to go tomorrow. They’ve even offered to provide services at no cost to the government.
“We’ve had two deaths this festival season already. We have to follow the best available evidence to prevent any more,” said Ms Faehrmann.
Cate Faehrmann’s speech to the Bill can be found here.
The full text of the Bill can be found here.