Stereosonic Festival has announced their full support of pill testing at their events to keep punters safe and, y’know, not dead. A pill testing scheme at music festivals has, for some, long been seen as a practical and necessary method to help avoid any more unnecessary drug-related deaths, and it’s exciting to finally see some major Australian events publicly announce their endorsements.
Festival organisers have released a statement explaining their support of the initiative. “In principle, pill testing would have our full support as long as all the key stakeholders sanctioned the initiative to ensure its effectiveness,” a spokesperson from Totem OneLove Group said. “We would strongly support any policies or initiatives that would minimise harm, reduce drug use and make events a safer environment for patrons.”
Of course, the idea is not without its loud protestors. Earlier this week, premier Mike Baird expectedly shut down the idea of pill testing once again, saying “we are not going to be condoning in any way what illegal drug dealers are doing.” He stuck by this belief this morning on Sunrise, affirming that “taxpayer funded dollars” would not be going towards “supporting illegal drug dealers.”
So, what is his solution instead?
“Don’t do it. That is the best form of safety you can do. Don’t take the pills and you’ll be fine.”
Nice try, Casino Mike, but you know full well that’s not how this works.
It’s really goddamn stupid to suggest that people just shouldn’t use drugs, because that’s not going to happen, it’s just not. Yet this formal, politically motivated stance is the reason Australia is so far behind other countries in terms of drug education, testing, harm reduction and regulatory schemes, and the reason punters will undoubtedly continue to face serious harm
Nonetheless, the privately-funded scheme will take place as a trial – legal or not. The trial will reportedly involve setting up mobile laboratory-grade dog testing facilities at these festivals to ensure the drugs that festival-goers are taking are safe.
One of the experts behind the scheme, Dr David Caldicott said that the trial is necessary, despite what politicians are saying. “We want to run a trial at a place where everyone is using drugs anyway,” he says. “It’s time for our politicians and elected representatives to catch up with what the majority of parents want for their children, which is for them to return home safe.” You can read more from our own interview with Dr Caldicott here,
Read even more: The Reality of Drugs at Festivals