Here’s why Doctors are Backing Pill Testing at Music Festivals Across Australia

Here’s why Doctors are Backing Pill Testing at Music Festivals Across Australia

For many years experts in the field of drug policy in Australia have known existing policies are failing. Crude messages (calls for total abstinence: “just say no to drugs”) and even cruder enforcement strategies (harsher penalties, criminalisation of drug users) have had no impact on the use of drugs or the extent of their harmful effects on the community.

Whether we like it or not, drug use is common in our society, especially among young people. In 2016 43% of people aged 14 and older reported they had used an illicit drug at some point in their lifetime. And 28% of people in their twenties said they had used illicit drugs in the past year.

The use of MDMA (the active ingredient in ecstasy) is common and increasing among young people. In the last three months alone five people have died as a result of using illicit drugs at music festivals and many more have been taken to hospital.

The rigid and inflexible attitudes of current policy-makers contrast dramatically with the innovative approaches to public health policy for which Australia was once renowned. Since the 1970s many highly successful campaigns have improved road safety, increased immunisation rates in children and helped prevent the spread of blood-borne virus infections.

The wearing of seatbelts was made compulsory throughout Australia in the ...

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