Festivals across the country are set to get a lot safer this summer, with pill testing looking more and more likely to go ahead. That is, of course, everywhere except NSW, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Physician Dr David Caldicott told the paper, “We continue to progress.” He went onto say, “We’ve got the funding. Meetings with law enforcement have been face to face and in more than one jurisdiction outside of NSW,” before revealing that both senior police officers and senior politicians had been engaging in discussions about the harm minimisation strategy.
“We are now working out how we can have a system in place for the forthcoming festival season.”
At this point in time, both the NSW police force and the NSW government deem the process illegal, but as tensions and dissatisfaction towards both parties continue to increase (particularly about the hugely destructive lockout laws in place in Sydney), patience is wearing very thin for NSW authorities to get with the times.
This news comes just after last weekend, where two punters (a 15 year old girl and a teenage boy) at the Maitland Groovin’ The Moo were taken to hospital due to suspected overdoses, whilst the country continues to mourn over the deaths that occurred from drugs at festivals over the past 12 months. It’s a very real threat, and the threat can be lessened if those in power listen to those who know what they’re talking about. We interviewed Caldicott ourselves last year, and his view point that pill testing is a powerful harm minimisation strategy that could very well prevent many deaths has only strengthened since then.
Caldicott said of the Groovin’ The Moo incident, “We had talked about the possibility of pill testing at Groovin’ the Moo and we shrugged our shoulders and said, it’s not actually high yield… so the fact that people got sick there, the fact they were so young, obviously emphasises the ongoing need for this. Even the experts have underestimated the nature of the market. It is absolutely going to be far worse next season.”
As of Saturday, a spokesperson for the NSW government told the SMH that their position still had not changed, which once again begs the question – how many more people have to die before some real change starts happening?
Read the full article here.
Image: Stoney Roads