NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has once again rejected moves for widespread pill testing at festivals, claiming there isn’t “any evidence” that the procedure is successful.
For an impossibly long time now, the topic of pill testing has been on the minds of countless festivalgoers, concert organisers, and government officials.
Following the drug-related deaths of numerous festival attendees throughout the summer, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian rejected any calls for pill testing, instead implementing a number of highly-criticised guidelines for ‘high risk’ festivals.
While the NSW Government has repeatedly denied that pill testing would be implemented in the state, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians penned an open letter to the Premier, asking her to reconsider her stance on the matter.
Back in February, it was announced that the Canberra leg of Groovin The Moo had been given the green light for pill testing to take place at the event, with results indicating that the weekend’s trial was “overwhelmingly successful.”
In the weekend’s results, it was revealed that 234 festivalgoers used the service, identifying 171 substances, and showing that several of the substances tested showed traces of n-ethylpentylone, a potentially fatal drug.
“We helped reduce drug-related harm by giving young people access to a medical service they would not have had otherwise,” explained Gino Vambuca from Pill Testing Australia. “The pilot was again overwhelmingly successful by any measure but particularly by doing everything possible to keep our kids safe.”
“The simple truth is that it is time to take practical evidence-based steps to make parties and festivals safer for our kids.”
However, this doesn’t seem to be enough for Gladys Berejiklian who told reporters in Sydney today that her opinion on the matter remains firm.
“They haven’t shown there’s any evidence yet,” the Premier explained. “My position on pill testing remains firm. I don’t think it works, I don’t think the evidence is there and I don’t support it.”
As 7 News notes, the Premier has given the go-ahead for a government-commissioned inquiry into ice to widen its focus and look at other drug-related issues like pill testing, but it doesn’t seem like it’ll do anyone much good.
“Of course I’ll read it if they put it up but I’m not convinced they’ll find evidence because there’s no such evidence anywhere,” the Premier stated.
While it remains to be seen whether or not Gladys Berejiklian will eventually change her mind on pill testing, it’s starting to look like any attempt to provide evidence that such an undertaking works is basically a waste of time.