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Demand Action: Pill Testing Saves Lives Rally

An estimated 7000 Sydneysiders will descend on the CBD to throw their support behind pill testing and push for the government to also get on board.
By Libby Curran
January 17, 2019
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Demand Action: Pill Testing Saves Lives Rally

An estimated 7000 Sydneysiders will descend on the CBD to throw their support behind pill testing and push for the government to also get on board.
By Libby Curran
January 17, 2019
  shares

There have been seemingly endless conversation surrounding the topic of pill testing of late, as we face some pretty grim figures — five young people have died from suspected drug overdoses at NSW festivals in as many months.

But despite these devastating and ever-growing stats, the government has remained firmly opposed pill testing as a harm minimisation measure at raves and festivals. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian continues to vocally squash the idea, and it wasn't even considered by the expert panel assembled to produce the Keeping People Safe At Music Festivals report a few months back.

Now, Sydneysiders have the chance to throw their support behind pill testing and push for the government to also get on board, at a protest rally at Sydney's Town Hall this Saturday, January 19. During the rally, there'll be a series of speeches from harm minimisation experts and campaigners at Town Hall from 4pm, before the march moves on through to Hyde Park.

With an expected turnout of over 7000, the rally is being backed by a coalition of advocate groups, including Keep Sydney Open, anti-sniffer dog campaign Sniff Off, Reclaim The Streets, Students for Sensible Drug Policy and Unharm, which campaigns for safe and positive drug use.

Pill testing advocates across the country maintain that it can save lives, citing extensive research carried out internationally, as well as the results of Australia's only pill testing trial, which was carried out at Canberra's Groovin The Moo last year. At any rate, many argue the rising death toll makes it pretty clear that the government's current zero-tolerance approach to drugs isn't working.

"We're throwing this protest because we're sick of reading the same headlines about young people dying around us," said Reclaim The Streets spokesperson Kieran Adair. "Festival overdoses are easily so preventable, the Government needs to stop burying its head in the sand and listen to the experts."

Image: Keep Sydney Open rally, Kimberley Low.

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