As the discussion around pill testing at Australian festivals rages on, Dr Alex Wodak, head of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, has called for the legal, over-the-counter distribution of illicit substances in Australian pharmacies.
Speaking to breakfast show Today, Dr Wodak said that as the substances would then be production and dosage controlled, the move would greatly reduce drug related deaths and overdoses.
Dr Alex Wodak has suggested giving illicit drugs controlled production and distribution within pharmacies as a method of minimising drug-related deaths.
“You can’t prevent deaths completely. But if you reduce them a lot that’s well worthwhile,” Dr Wodak said.
“I’m not saying [it’s] safe, I’m saying it’s safer. Nothing is safe — it is only you can reduce the risk, you can’t eliminate the risk. And we should try to reduce the risk.”
This comes at the same time that organisers of Rainbow Serpent Festival have called out the NSW government for their refusal to budge on what is increasingly a hard-lined no tolerance stance on pill testing.
Speaking to ABC radio, festival spokesperson Tim Harvey said that the government’s inaction would do nothing but allow drug-related deaths to keep occurring:
“I think the issue has been created by 30 years of failed drug policy – and we are waiting on the government to fix that.”
As the NSW government refuses to budge on their shortsighted approach to pill testing, the issue continues to get further and further from a real and functional solution. Until the government pays attention to what punters, doctors and the broader festival community is saying, this discussion will remain unresolved.