Why do we need Pill Testing?
There have been five very heartbreaking and needless deaths at music festivals this season.
It began with two young people, a 23-year-old man and a 21-year-old female at Defqon.1 in Sydney. In December, shortly after, a 19-year-old male died from a suspected drug overdose at Knockout Games, while another 22-year-old male died at Lost Paradise after taking an “unknown substance.”
In January another 19-year-old female died at FOMO in NSW, due to ingesting an “unidentified substance”.
These deaths are happening so fast we can barely keep up with them.
This is a national crisis.
In April 2018, Australia had its first pilot of pill testing at Groovin’ the Moo festival in the ACT. The report indicated that:
one of the substances detected has been implicated in hospitalisations in New Zealand and deaths in the US.
3/4 of those who had their drugs tested received brief intervention counselling and harm reduction advice
18% said that due to the results provided by the test, they would discard their drug or were uncertain about what to do.
42% stated they would change their drug consumption behaviour as a result of the testing.
(Harm Reduction Australia, 2018).
More than 4 in 5 young Australians already support pill testing (Lancaster, Ritter and Matthew-Simmons, 2018) and this issue disproportionately affects us.
It is imperative that these services be made available, as they can saves lives and allow young Australians to make more informed decisions.
The bottom line is that young people are going to engage in risk taking behaviours, but it is our responsibility, as a community, to ensure their safety as much as possible. Without the implementation of harm reduction strategies such as pill testing, we will continue to have more deaths. It is time for a new approach.
Our campaign will change this. Come be a part of it.