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Wile E. Peyote

Pill testing events this week in Sydney and Melbourne

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At least five people have died after consuming drugs at music festivals since the start of this festival season, and we're barely halfway through. This is a terrible situation, but an upside is that the popular media narrative on pill testing is changing. Yes, pill testing is not the only drug policy reform needed to stop drug related deaths, but there is a wealth of research demonstrating the effectiveness of this harm reduction measure and a number of organisations ready and willing to offer this service in Australia.

This week there are opportunities in both Sydney and Melbourne to support the pill testing movement. Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) Australia are launching their pill testing advocacy campaign #BeHeardNotHarmed on Wednesday 16th January at Revolver Upstairs in Prahran (https://www.facebook.com/events/982077871993012/). Reclaim the Streets, Sniff Off, Keep Sydney Open and Unharm have joined forces to organise a protest against zero-tolerance, abstinence-based drug policies and to support drug checking/pill testing. Protesters will meet at Sydney Town Hall at 4pm on January the 19th (https://www.facebook.com/events/321483005362309/).

Edited by Wile E. Peyote
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This is really good (btw the first link you've posted sucked up the end bracket ")" and doesnt work unless its removed.) I have no idea why abstinence based policies have survived such a long time. They just don't fucking work! As usual govt always takes 100 times longer than it should to change anything. 

Edited by Caster
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Good.....those in enforcement can do more such as if a dodgey press or paper gets about then get images of them out ASAP to the public 

 

WA does a top job on that front 

Edited by waterboy 2.0
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Watch this. And we wonder why it always takes the government so many more years than it should to ever implement anything useful. 

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On 15/01/2019 at 1:23 PM, Caster said:

Watch this. And we wonder why it always takes the government so many more years than it should to ever implement anything useful. 

 

Whether something is useful or not is a matter of perspective. The reason the government is reticent to implement pill testing is it is not useful to them. It's much more to their liking to keep drugs illegal than to allow something like pill testing, which is a step in the direction of eroding the illusion the war on drugs is the only way to deal with this problem.

 

Another thing to consider is what the Premier is not saying, as opposed to what she is saying; "Pill testing doesn't stop overdoses..." Whether or not that is true, the focus of the debate has been put on "overdose". It is most likely deaths related to drug taking at these events are more a result of a combination of things including drug (im)purity, interactions with other medications, level of hydration etc, not overdose. Until the media starts calling it what it is, the politicians will use this tactic to counter proposals like pill testing. 

Edited by Insequent
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https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/premier-convinced-inquiry-will-find-no-evidence-to-support-pill-testing/ar-AAAJRqR?li=AAgfYrC&ocid=mailsignout

 

"I'm convinced there is no evidence to support pill testing, but it's important for the Commissioner and his experts to have a free reign to look at these issues and provide their recommendations," Ms Berejiklian said on Tuesday.

"Of course I'll read it [the inquiry's recommendations] if they put it up, but I'm not convinced they [the panel] will find evidence because there's no sufficient evidence anywhere."

 

The cynic in me reads this as saying, "Of course I'll read the recommendations (if they put it up..??? Why wouldn't they?), but regardless of what they find, it won't change my mind." Put another way, I guess it depends on what she considers as evidence and how it will impact what it is the government is trying to achieve...

 

I don't think there is any question Commissioner Prof Dan Howard SC (president of the NSW Mental Health Review Tribunal) and his panel of experts are well qualified and excellent candidates for investigating the pros and cons of a pill testing program. However if, for example, you look at the government's policy for dealing with the so-called "Ice Epidemic", the reason the Special Commission of Inquiry was set up in the first place, I wonder if any evidence supporting the effectiveness of a pill testing program will have any impact on the government's decision... I'm not convinced the panel has been given the scope to conduct a "robust independent approach" to the issues.
 
   The establishment of a Special Commission of Inquiry comes on top of the extensive measures implemented by the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government to      tackle ice, including:

     improving the ability of Police to confiscate the assets of serious criminals, including drug dealers and traffickers;

     tightening controls on pseudoephedrine – one of the main precursors used to make ice; and

     cracking down on drug driving by more than tripling the number of roadside drug tests, increasing to 200,000 roadside drug tests per year by 2020.”

 

Here, perhaps, Prof Peter Miller is a voice of reason....

https://this.deakin.edu.au/society/why-pill-testing-has-never-been-trialled-in-australia

 

 

https://theconversation.com/heres-why-doctors-are-backing-pill-testing-at-music-festivals-across-australia-109430

https://www.hysteriamag.com/realtalk-seven-lives-saved-canberra-music-festival-premier-still-convinced-theres-no-evidence-pill-testing-works/

 

 

https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2019-01-15/pill-testing-claims-put-to-the-test/10703370

Drug policy expert Alison Ritter, co-author of "a global review of drug checking services in 2017" states;

"We know that it doesn't produce an increase in drug use … and there's no evidence of harm associated with pill testing," Professor Ritter said.

In fact, research shows pill testing can lead to less drug taking, and help people consume drugs in a safer way.

"What's clear from the results of the services operating [in Europe] is that people make different choices based on the results of the testing — some choose to put their drugs into an amnesty bin, others choose to take half as much as perhaps they thought they would," Professor Ritter said.

 

Is this such a difficult topic on which to reach a consensus because the government is approaching it from the perspective there is no evidence pill testing will stop people taking drugs (despite what Prof Ritter has stated), instead of adopting an approach focused on harm reduction? It would be interesting to see the outcome if the Inquiry were tasked with finding evidence to support the government's stance that pill testing leads to more drug use, greater dangers to users and the general public, and that it does not save lives. I don't think it would be very long before we had a nation-wide program.... 

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