Legal but still condemned: pill testing will finally be available at Sydney music festivals

Pill testing has not been introduced by the Baird government, but you will see hundreds of the kits at Sydney’s big Summer music festivals.

The newest move in the pill-testing debate comes from harm minimisation advocates who have found a legal way to get them in festivals, according to Sydney Morning Herald. Not only have these organisations managed to find a loophole in the legal system, they’ve also found a way to make the kits practical.

Photo by Dazed Digital
Photo by Dazed Digital

As a direct solution to prevent death and injury caused by illicit drugs, the pill-testing kits are DIY and will be made easily accessible.

As a privately-funded service, it will be backed by the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation and emergency medical expert Dr David Caldicott. However, the proposal was rejected by the Baird government and the NSW Police Force stated it would make arrests if they saw anyone using the service.

“Here is a government that allows a medically supervised injecting centre in Kings Cross to save lives, but blocks a medically supervised testing centre from doing the same at music festivals.” Caldicott says.

According to SMH, FairFax Media confirms that four festivals were “strongly in favour” of pill testing at music festivals.

Although the proposed pill-tests would be basic in terms of drug range, they intend to detect certain ‘party’ drugs such as MDMA and ecstasy.

“These kits give no information about purity and one of the biggest problems we have in this summer’s market is very high dose MDMA.” Caldicott says.

The ideal situation for preventing drug related harm would include the use of high-functioning, accurate equipment at the hands of experts who provide essential advice. Currently, the NSW has no such service.