Music

The Full And “Somewhat Unexpected” Results Of Australia’s Second Pill-Testing Trial Are In

How much more proof do we need?

Pill Testing Groovin the Moo

Pill Testing Australia has released its detailed report on its April pill-testing trial at Canberra’s Groovin The Moo festival, asking for the second year in a row that the Federal government legalise and fund pill-testing services at festivals across Australia.

Back in April, PTA called the pill-testing trial — their second in two years — an “overwhelming success”, as seven people ditched pills containing potentially deadly substances after tests. 234 people participated, and 171 individual samples were tested.

Now, in their official report, PTA have further outlined the trial’s effects. Noticeably, PTA announced an “unintended benefit”: punters who had their pills tested and found unexpected substances would spread word to friends with pills (assumedly from the same batch), who would return with those friends to also get tested. According to the report, this happened “on several occasions”.

The report also offered some statistics: the average age of those using pill-testing were 19 years old; 88 percent of people had some kind of brief intervention/conversation following the pill-test with harm reduction workers; 76 percent of people had used drugs previously; and that 12 percent of people disclosed a health condition/that they’re on medications, the most common being SSRIs.

PTA also pointed out that while a lack of any signage was a condition of the pill-testing trial, it likely impeded many finding it/being aware of the service.

Essentially, the report stressed what everyone but the federal and state governments seem to know: that pill-testing prevents deaths, educates people on substance quality, and makes sense.

Earlier this month, the Victorian Greens announced plans to introduce a pro pill-testing law into state government. The proposed bill is called ‘Daniel’s Bill’ after Daniel Buccianti, who died from a drug overdose at Rainbow Serpent Festival in 2012, and will be introduced before the summer festival season.

In July, an inquest into the fatal overdoses of six festival attendees over the 2018/19 summer festival period found that at least two deaths could have been prevented with adequate staffing.

Read the PTA’s full report here.


Photo via Psychonaught/Wikimedia Commons