Members of the NSW Cross Party Harm Minimisation Roundtable today wrote to the Premier asking her to commit to a Drug Summit and offering to help draft legislation to allow for a trial for pill testing if the Summit found this an appropriate way forward.
The Roundtable was formed in 2016 to advocate for harm minimisation within the NSW Parliament and to progress policies that progress harm minimisation and a health-focused approach to the use of illicit drugs.
In 2016, the Group convened a Harm Minimisation Summit, bringing together experts from health, law and emergency services, research and community services, along with keynote speakers Bob Carr and John Brogden.
The Roundtable comprises Cate Faehrmann MLC, NSW Greens; Alex Greenwich MP, Independent Member for Sydney; Jo Haylen MP, Labor Member for Summer Hill; The Hon. Shayne Mallard MLC, NSW Liberal Party.
The Roundtable’s letter follows the tragic deaths of music festival patrons from suspected drug overdoses over the Summer and calls from stakeholders, experts and community members for pill testing to be trialled at music festivals.
The Roundtable is calling for a Drug Summit like the one held in 1999 that resulted in the establishment of the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in Kings Cross. The Rountable has offered to develop and progress cross-party legislation to enable pill-testing should the Summit recommend that it be trialled.
Media for Cate Faehrmann: Ben Cronly, 9230 3771 or 0487 247 960
LETTER TO THE PREMIER:
Like you, we continue to be distraught at the avoidable deaths from alleged drug overdoses at music festivals over the Summer. Any drug related death is a tragedy and reverberates through the whole community, particularly those families who have lost loved ones.
It is clear we must act urgently to avoid further deaths of young people at music festivals in New South Wales.
It is also clear that the current approach to illicit drug use is not working and that we must consider all the available evidence and options.
As legislators from across the political spectrum with an interest in harm reduction, we respectfully urge you to commit to hosting a drug summit in the next term of parliament and to guarantee that all possible measures to minimise harm are under consideration, including trialling pill-testing and the use of amnesty bins, and phasing out the use of drug detection dogs at music festivals.
A drug summit, convened by the NSW Government, and engaging people from across government, the not-for-profit sector, health and justice, would allow us an opportunity to properly examine all the evidence and find the right mix of responses.
Should a Summit decide that pill-testing is an appropriate response, our cross-party group stands ready to work with colleagues, experts and stakeholders to investigate the legislative framework required to allow a pill testing trial to occur.
There is political will from across the parliament to work together and better protect the safety of young people at music festivals. We stand ready to work with you and across the parliament and again urge you to convene a drug summit to achieve that goal.
We look forward to your response.
Alex Greenwich MP
Member for Sydney
Jo Haylen MP
Member for Summer Hill