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Groovin' The Moo Canberra Will Host Australia's Second Pill-Testing Trial

It follows the success of a trial at the same festival last year, which found a bunch of potentially lethal additives in festivalgoers' drugs.
By Libby Curran
February 19, 2019
By Libby Curran
February 19, 2019

While the NSW Government attempts to improve music festival safety by introducing a tough new licensing regime and jacking up costs for event organisers, its ACT counterpart is throwing its support behind pill testing. As reported by the ABC, the ACT Government has given the green light for a pill-testing trial to go ahead at the Canberra leg of this year's Groovin' The Moo festival, held at Exhibition Park in April.

It'll be only the second time Australia has seen a trial like this, allowing festivalgoers to have their illicit substances tested for dangerous ingredients. The first took place at the same festival last year, when 85 substances were tested and some potentially deadly components were found, as well as plenty of hidden extras like toothpaste, paint and lactose.

Now, the government's on board for round two, with ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr Tweeting after the decision, "Governments have a responsibility to not only try and prevent drug use but also to support initiatives that reduce the harms associated with drug use."

The upcoming trial will be headed up by harm reduction advocates Pill Testing Australia.

In its ACT Drug Strategy Action Plan released last year, the ACT Government stated it would continue to support pill testing and be "examining further opportunities to expand pill testing at events in the ACT".

In the wake of a spate of festival deaths from suspected drug overdoses, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her government have remained staunchly opposed to the idea of pill-testing, despite international research and the success of last year's local pill-testing venture. Let's see if Canberra's controversial move to host a second trial makes them any more likely to change their minds.


Image: Jack Toohey.

Published on February 19, 2019 by Libby Curran
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