As you’re aware, pill testing has been at the forefront of the media over the last few weeks. It comes in the wake of a number of young people dying at festivals from alleged drug overdoses.
There has been public outcry, asking the NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, to consider pill testing at NSW festivals, and punters have been told a resounding ‘no’.
Despite evidence to the contrary, the successful implementation of pill testing at Canberra’s Groovin’ the Moo festival in 2018, the NSW Government is not even remotely convinced.
There is clearly an ongoing and increasing issue of young people consuming illicit drugs and substances at festivals, if pill testing is not the answer, then what other options should we be looking at?
Some groups have called for the legalisation of all illicit substances.
Why? They say it will enable pharmaceutical companies to produce and manufacture the substances, enabling them to regulate the amount of purity of various substances and ensure there are no unknown, additional poisonous substances. This would also likely result in a considerable decrease in drug-related crime, such as manufacture and supply.
Another argument is that through prescription by General Practitioners amounts of consumption can be heavily regulated and people seeking those prescriptions can also be educated about the harmful effects of the substance.
Harsher sentencing for drug-related crime
On the other hand, there are also calls for harsher punishment and mandatory minimum sentencing. With many people believing that increasing the punitive effects of drug taking and supplying will act as a deterrent.
However, what many do not realise is that sentencing for many drug offences carries some of the most serious penalties in Australia’s legal system. For example, the offence of drug trafficking carries a life sentence (25 years) – equivalent to that of murder.
If the NSW Government won’t test pills – what else should they be testing to stop drug related deaths?