If You Want To See Pill Testing At Festivals, Here’s How To Give Your Support
"We want pill-testing to become a normal part of music festivals and events."
Earlier this year, Australia’s landmark first pill-testing trial took place at Canberra’s Groovin’ The Moo. Deemed a success, the findings proved what advocates have been saying for years — that pill-testing saves lives. And now, the team behind the trial need your help to take it to the next level.
Harm Reduction Australia, which is part of the STA-SAFE, has launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise $100,000. Speaking to Junkee, HRA president and co-founder Gino Vumbaca explained that the campaign is a ‘one-off’ that would allow for around 4 to 5 more pill-testing trials, depending on their size.
“The first program was done pro-bono, with volunteers contributing legal expertise and time for free,” says Vumbaca.
“We also had free use of equipment. [This money] would let us lease equipment and cover costs for volunteers: not by paying them, but covering out-of-pocket costs like travel while we build our evidence base.”
Vumbaca says the HRA has been approached by several music festivals — some large, some small — about setting up pill-testing pilots. While the ground-swell allowed the Groovin’ The Moo test to be minimal cost, it’s simply not possible to continue without financial help.
With more trials, Vumbaca hopes that pill-testing would gain wide-spread government support. Currently, it has a spate of approval from a cross-bench of politicians, but there’s no enshrined legislation or funding.
“We want pill-testing to become a normal part of music festivals and events,” he said. “In the way you have first-aid and security as services that must be provided, we hope pill-testing and other harm reduction measures become essential in order for an event to go forward.”
You can donate here — any donations under $500 will see you listed as a supporter on the HRA’s website, and any above $500 will earn you/a company the title of “honorary shareholder”.
If you’re not able to donate, Vambaca notes there’s a variety of ways to contribute: you or your workplace could sign up as non-financial supporters; you could volunteer for administrative and other duties; or you could contact your local MP and ask them to support pill-testing.