Canberrans back harm minimisation efforts to #KeepCanberraSafe

Shane Rattenbury, MLA

Today Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury will today table a petition of more than 1,000 signatures backing a pill testing trial in the ACT.

“The Greens are strongly committed to an evidence-based and health-focused approach to drug law reform, ensuring that Canberra’s young people can make informed choices and stay safe

“Public health organisations and experts have long told us that there is overwhelming evidence to support pill testing as an effective harm minimisation measure,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“I acknowledge that the issue is complex, but with evidence from experts and the health and law enforcement sectors on side, there is no reason to delay this important harm minimisation approach.

“This petition is evidence that there is real community support for what is, ultimately, a means of reducing harm.”

Pill testing is already routine at festivals in several countries with successful results. In Austria, two thirds of drug users who were informed by a government-funded pill testing service of potential toxic harms decided not to consume their drugs, and told their friends not to either. In Australia, 76% of participants in a hypothetical study reported they would not take a pill with ‘unknown’ substances in it.

Pill testing also provides data for public health or law enforcement purposes, as well as an opportunity to reach a population of users that would otherwise be unlikely to engage support services.

“The ACT has a strong track record of underpinning drug policy with evidence, and as a progressive jurisdiction we have an opportunity to lead the way on pill testing, and influence other states and territories to follow suit,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“The Greens have actively campaigned for pill testing trials at recent music festivals – at Groovin The Moo both in 2016 and 2017, and at Spilt Milk last year.

“It would be ideal to have those outcomes in time to allow a pill testing trial to be conducted at Spilt Milk in December this year,” Mr Rattenbury added.

Visit Keep Canberra Safe to learn more.