NSW Police Minister Still Says Pill Testing “Sends The Wrong Message”
His comments come after the ACT announced more funding for a six-month trial of a pill testing site in Canberra's CBD.
In news that isn’t shocking but sure is disappointing, New South Wales Police Minister David Elliott has reinforced the state’s anti-pill testing stance.
As lockdowns across the state (and country) end and we inch closer and closer to a COVID-normal world, the idea of a music festival going ahead is feeling like more than just a pipe dream. But unfortunately, the state’s pill testing policies remain unchanged.
“The position of the NSW government has not changed, and we will not support the introduction of pill testing,” Police Minister David Elliott told The Daily Telegraph. “The government is not satisfied there is sufficient evidence that pill testing is effective in minimising drug harm: testing one pill can only provide a result of that one pill, not the entire batch.”
Elliott believes pill testing — which could be a real game-changer when it comes to accidental overdoses at music festivals, nightclubs and just in general — “sends the wrong message to young people.”
“Pill testing creates false confidence that the drug is safe and sends the wrong message to young people about the consumption of illegal substances,” he said. “All illicit substances carry the real risk of harming, or ultimately killing, the person who takes it. We have not forgotten the tragic drug-related deaths of so many young people only a couple of years ago.”
So, instead of sending that so-called “wrong message”, the state will continue its policy of letting people risk it with pills containing who-knows-what, rather than allowing them to test it and know for sure what they’re ingesting. Rather than implementing harm reduction measures that have been proven to minimise risk, the New South Wales Government will continue to live in a state of total and utter delusion in thinking young people are ever going to just stop taking drugs.
The state hasn’t even listened to Deputy Coroner Harriet Grahame, who recommended pill testing be implemented way back in 2019 after a whopping six drug-related deaths at music festivals in a 12 month period. Grahame also recommended banning sniffer dogs and decriminalising personal use of illicit drugs in an effort to reduce panic — which can often lead to people ingesting substances to avoid being caught in possession.
Elliott’s comments come after the ACT announced a further $260,000 worth of funding towards a six-month trial of a pill testing site in Canberra’s CBD. This funding comes after the state trialled pill testing at Groovin’ The Moo for two years in a row (2018-2019).
Pill testing doesn’t send “the wrong message” — the only message David Elliott sending right now is that the NSW Government cares more about enforcing arbitrary drug laws than about actually keeping young Australians safe.
As we return to a COVID-normal world (hopefully with music festivals), make sure to look after your mates and be aware of the signs of a drug overdose.