Time to trial pill testing in Canberra

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On the eve of International Overdose Awareness Day, ACT Greens have announced their plan to trial pill testing at festivals and host a drug law reform summit in the ACT.

"The old ways of dealing with drugs just aren't working. People lives are being put at risk because they are not getting the help they need," said ACT Greens alcohol and other drugs spokesperson Michael Mazengarb.

"We need to put the community first and find new ways to deal with the drug crisis. Last year six young people died from misuse of party drugs at festivals. This is six too many.

“We need pill testing facilities because one more death is simply not acceptable, " said Mr Mazengarb.

Mr Mazengarb noted that the other parties had refused to take action on drug law reform.

"The other parties have had years to take action and they've failed. Just months ago, they voted down our calls for drug law reform in the Legislative Assembly.

“The Liberals are ideologically wedded to the ineffective, outdated law-and-order approach and Labor doesn’t have the courage to show political leadership and put the safety of young people first.

"We must move on from the old ‘law and order' approach to drug use and put the safety, and lives, of young people first,” said Mr Mazengarb

Dr Monica Barratt, Research Fellow at the Drug Policy Modelling Program at UNSW has backed the Greens’ new approach to drug use.

“There is strong evidence from UK and other countries that many people will discard drugs after receiving unexpected results from a credible service.

These services take particularly dangerous drug combinations out of the market while providing what can often be the only interaction with a health professional about drug use that a festival-attendee may have.

The evidence strongly supports conducting an Australian trial of testing drugs at festivals, so I commend the Greens on their pragmatic approach to this area of health policy,” said Dr Barrett.

"It takes courage to have difficult conversations about drug use. The Greens aren't afraid to stand with the community and take a new approach," concluded Mr Mazengarb.

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Media Contact: Maiy Azize – 0434 200 794 or maiy.azize@act.greens.org.au