Victoria might be seeing pill testing instated as early as 2020, if a new bill proposed by The Greens is successful when introduced to Parliament.
The Victorian Greens will be introducing The Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Pill Testing Pilot For Drug Harm Reduction) Bill 2019 to Parliament just before summer festival season. And if all goes to plan, the bill will be debated in the early months of 2020.
The pill testing bill will be named ‘Daniel’s Bill’ in honour of Daniel Buccianti, who died of an overdose at Rainbow Serpent Festival seven years ago.
If successful, Daniel’s Bill will implement a two-year trial of pill testing services, with a mobile station for use at music festivals and a permanent location for more detailed analysis. The facilities will operate on a two-year lease, with the potential to extend for another four years.
According to the draft bill, the tests will “measure the weight and take a small sample of the substances users are intending to take and return the remainder of the substance to the user or potential user.”
On the topic, Greens MP and drug reform expert Dr Tim Read said:
“We need to change the culture of drug use in Australia, and the first step is treating drug use as a health issue. We must acknowledge the current approach is resulting in unintended consequences and instead choose policies that have worked elsewhere. It’s time to get over the stigma and just test the pills.”
He also acknowledged that there is “over 20 years of evidence that shows pill testing reduces overdoses and protects people from the harm of illicit drug use.”
“The government’s ‘just say no’ policy is failing young people. This outdated approach keeps people in the dark about the risks of drug use. Pill testing shows we take their health and well-being seriously.”
If the bill is passed, maybe Victoria will see the reduction in festival deaths which young people are calling for. It may even assist other states in following suit.