Will we see pill testing at festivals this year?

March 5th 2016

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“This is an issue that overwhelmingly affects younger people and young people support pill testing overwhelmingly. Troy Grant is talking to the over 60s where those kind of lines about Just Say No still work, and that’s what’s getting in the way of sensible alternatives”

Last weekend Alex Wodak, David Caldicott and Will Tregoning announced that they intended to start pill testing at festivals. The NSW government said they wouldn’t support it, and that the organisers and drug users involved could face arrest.

The three have lengthy experience in drug policy: Alex Wodak helped establish the safe injecting room in Kings Cross back in 1999 before it was technically legal, David Caldicott is an emergency medicine specialist and Will Tregoning is the founder of Unharm, a drug law reform organisation.

Heidi and guest host Ollie Henderson speak to Will about how pill testing works and what they’ll do if the NSW government maintains its opposition to the idea.

He says the NSW government requested a policy brief on pill testing only weeks ago, which Deputy Premier Troy Grant has chosen to ignore.

Backchat requested an interview with Deputy Premier Grant but he declined our invitation. He did give an interview earlier in the week on 2UE where he acknowledged that the government cannot “arrest our way out of this problem” and that he didn’t understand how pill testing worked, but confirmed he would not support it.

He also blamed video games and the internet for young people’s inability to understand that drugs are bad.

“The generation we have now, generation me I think they’re called, they are de-sensitised but they’re also cavalier. It stems from… they’re able to hit the refresh button on the internet, and in video games they can hit the reset button, but in life there’s no reset button you know, you take a pill and it kills you, it harms you. You can’t hit a reset button in life.”



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