In a surprising move The Royal Australasian College of Physicians has written an open letter to all state and territory leaders saying they believe there is enough evidence to support pill testing.
The group, which represents some 17,000 physicians and paediatricians has urged the NSW Governments premiere Gladys Berejiklian to implement pill testing as a form of harm reduction and minimisation following a successful trial in the ACT last last year.
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians spokesperson Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones said ”The RACPs experts in addiction medicine and public health medicine believe the evidence currently available justifies the introduction of carefully designed pill testing trials in Australia,”
Adding ”Ideally, we would all like young people and the wider public not to use drugs illicitly, however, the reality is that they do in large numbers and the moral message to abstain from taking drugs is not getting through.”
They join a number of health and authority figures who are pushing for the adoption of pill testing across Australia following the deaths of 5 people at music festivals over the last 3 months. Others include;
Australian Medical Association
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre
Former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Palmer
ACT Chief Health Commissioner Dr Paul Kelly
Independent MP Doctor Keryn Phelps
NZ Police Commissioner Stuart Nash
Music event and festival organisers
UK Festival organisers
NSW Premiere Gladys Ms Berejiklian has consistently pushed back against pill testing having not seen ”˜evidence (while denying its input in her recent Festival Safety Report) and continues to ”˜urge young people not to take them, the same rhetoric as successive governments.
Dr Lloyd-Jones would like to see the consolation done with physicians, pharmacologists, toxicologists and other experts to create the most effective solution in place although STA-SAFE, who will soon rebrand as Pill Testing Australia who was part of the successful trial in the ACT says they are ready to go now.
The open letter coincides with the coroners report which looks to investigate the 5 recent deaths. Those looking to support pill-testing can attend a rally tomorrow (Saturday) at Sydney Town Hall from 4pm onwards.
In the meantime, watch Drugslab, a state-backed Dutch Youtube channel that experiments and educates users on particular kinds of drugs.