The head of a health service providing drug and alcohol counselling to young Tasmanians says pill testing advocates are feeding a culture that normalises drug use.
Rural Health Tasmania chief executive Robert Waterman has added his voice to the pill testing debate, claiming harm minimisation strategies should focus on early intervention rather than legitimising drug use.
The issue is expected to return to Tasmania's upper house next week when Murchison MLC Ruth Forrest makes a second attempt to pass a motion supporting a pill testing trial at the state's summer festivals.
The state government is also expected to review the recommendations from NSW deputy state coroner Harriet Grahame, after an inquest into six drug-related deaths at mainland music festivals.
However Mr Waterman, who has more than three decades' experience in human services, said the conversation was risking progress already made on reducing drug use.
"An unintended consequence of this debate is young people in society are building the opinion or view that if a drug only contains MDMA, then it's safe to take," he said.
"It's not whats happening at these festivals that's causing the harm. It's the conversations kids are having at parties, at home.
"Those who might not usually take drugs, suddenly think it's safe to do so. I believe it's important to save lives, but the harms associated with drug use reverberate well beyond just the user."
Pill testing is supported by nearly every peak national health body, including Tasmania's Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council.
However, the state government has maintained its opposition based on the position that there's no safe use of illicit drugs.
Mr Waterman said he would like to see the focus shift back to prevention.
"The best way to reduce overdose death is stop people using drugs," he said.
"There is no evidence that pill testing stops people taking drugs.
"We have made really good inroads in the past decade in reducing drug use in young people. Why risk that."