Hell Yeah: The Greens Are Calling For A Nationwide Pill Testing Program
"Australia’s hard line drug policy costs lives."
The Greens have put forward a proposal to open free community pill testing centres around the country, with party leader Richard Di Natale declaring that Australia’s approach to illicit drugs needs to change.
Under the plan, $16 million would be spent over three years on 18 facilities located in major cities and rural areas. The facilities would be staffed by qualified peer support workers, and would test drugs for purity as well as the presence of dangerous substances. Information about tested drugs would also be made available on social media and to hospitals emergency rooms.
“The war on drugs is a war on people — it has destroyed thousands of lives and wasted billions of dollars,” said Greens leader Richard Di Natale, a former drug and alcohol doctor. “Instead of protecting the community it is actually placing them at greater risk of harm.”
“Pill testing has time and time again proven to reduce rates of harm both in Australia and overseas, whereas the Coalition and Labor Party’s approach of heavy handed policing with drug dogs only creates more misery,” he added. “We can’t continue doing the same thing and expecting different results. Right now, people who consume drugs are relying on the word of their drug dealer, and that leads to tragic outcomes time and time again.”
Both major parties have previously expressed their opposition to pill testing, despite the success of trials and advice from the medical community. After two people died at the Defqon.1 music festival in Penrith in September of suspected drug overdoses, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian declared that “anyone who advocates pill-testing is giving the green light to drugs”.