The state government will not support pill testing trials at music festivals, despite advice from Australia’s peak body for physicians that it would minimise harm.
In an open letter, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians has urged Premier Will Hodgman, and all state and territory leaders, to follow the ACT Government’s lead in consulting with medical experts to establish pill testing trials.
RACP’s Addiction Medicine chapter president Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones said there was enough evidence to justify the introduction of carefully designed trials, in conjunction with other evidence-based harm minimisation measures.
“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,” he said.
“The evidence to date shows that existing policies in place at festivals to discourage drug taking, including heavy police presence, sniffer dogs and searches, are not effective. These policies are failing our communities and our young people, leading to unnecessary deaths.”
Mr Hodgman said the government did not believe there was any safe way to take illicit drugs.
“We will always be interested in any positive ways we can ensure that Tasmanians at events and festivals are enjoying themselves and to look at evidence and things that can inform us as to how to best do that,” he said.
“There’s certainly conflicting views on this, but it is categorically the case that there is no safe way to take illicit drugs. That’s why we don’t support it.”
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