News of a Party in the Paddock patron being hospitalised comes after weeks of debate over pill testing at music festivals across the country.
Thankfully police said the man had only ingested the liquid from his vapour and his visit to the Launceston General Hospital was not for a drug overdose, but rather something his friends might poke fun at him for a long time.
In recent months there have been a number of overdoses and drug-related deaths at mainland music festivals, and it was only natural to wonder if Tasmania was about to go through something similar.
Leading up to this year’s Party in the Paddock, the state rigorously debated whether pill testing should be introduced at music festivals.
Organisers of the festival said they want to have pill testing onsite at next year’s event.
Over recent weeks Health and Police Minister Michael Ferguson continually repeated the government did not and would not support pill testing.
This strong stance comes despite medical experts from the Australian Medical Association and Royal Australian College of General Practitioners calling for the harm minimisation measure to be introduced.
Australian Lawyers Alliance and former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Palmer also voiced their support for pill testing.
It is difficult to comprehend implementing pill testing at music events is different from having safe injecting rooms. The drugs taken are still illegal, but it is about acknowledging the fact that people are always going to take drugs and taking every opportunity to minimise the potential harm.
Pill testing is so much more than a report that tells patrons what chemicals their substance is made from, it is an opportunity for experts to educate recreational drug users.
This is not just a young person problem, this is a society problem. People of all ages take illegal drugs.
Let’s hope the government will work with health experts and the progressive festival PITP organisers to minimise harm going forward.