Australia’s peak body for physicians have called on Premier Gladys Berejiklian to introduce pill testing trials at NSW festivals, telling her there is sufficient evidence to support the intervention.
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians have written to Ms Berejiklian – and her state and territory counterparts – imploring her to reconsider her hardline stance against pill testing.
The intervention comes as the family of 19-year-old Alex Ross-King mourn the Central Coast teenager who died of a suspected fatal dose of an illicit drug at the FOMO Festival in Parramatta last weekend.
“In light of the six deaths at festivals in Australia since last September, we urge you to follow the lead of the ACT government in consulting with medical experts to establish pill testing trials in your state or territory,” the RACP’s open letter to premiers and chief ministers reads.
Ms Berejiklian welcomed an inquest into the deaths of young people at NSW music festivals.
But the Premier has refused to consider introducing pill testing at festivals amid mounting pressure, saying there was “no evidence provided to the government” that it saved lives, and testing would give drug users “a false sense of security”.
“Pill testing doesn’t deal with the issues of overdoses … it doesn’t deal with the horrible combination of drugs and alcohol, and drugs and heat,” she said.
The RACP’s addiction and public health medicine experts said the available evidence justified pill testing trials in Australia.
“There is good evidence to show that people who submit their drugs for testing are quite likely to act on this information given to them as a result of having the testing done,” President of the RACP’s Addiction Medicine chapter Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones said.
“And there is a sufficient body of research to say there is no evidence that pill testing is causing harm or increases the risk of people taking drugs when they otherwise might not,” he said.
Dr Lloyd-Jones acknowledged pill testing was “no panacea”.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald