Recent drug-related deaths at festivals over the recent holiday period have renewed the push for pill testing in Australia. The Australian Christian Lobby notes that drugs are inherently unsafe regardless of whether or not they have been tested. For example, 15-year-old Anna Wood died from ecstasy not because it was tainted, but because of the idiosyncratic effects of any illicit drug. Illicit drugs remain illegal and should be treated as such by governments and by the police. Not enforcing the law sends a message, especially to young people, that drug-taking is both dangerous and foolish.
Testing a pill creates a permission structure for consumption of the pill, thereby giving implicit approval to dangerous and irresponsible behaviour which no careful parent would wish their child to partake in. In any event, as with most ‘harm minimisation’ systems, it is unlikely that pill testing would have the benefits claimed by advocates. Research conducted during the first pill testing trial in Australia at Canberra’s Groovin the Moo last year showed that only 18 percent of festival-goers would decide not to take a drug which returned an adverse test result. State governments should continue to enforce the law and reject pill-testing proposals.
Source: Australian Christian Lobby