Pill Testing

October 23, 2019

We're heading into music festival season, and people of all ages will take part. I read with interest the leaked New South Wales coroner's report into festival deaths and pill testing, something I've spoken about in this place previously. As the mother of a musician who has played at music festivals around the world, I've heard about the different approaches taken outside Australia, where they don't face what we do every music festival season. Something's wrong in New South Wales when a government is tone-deaf to the pleas of parents and festivalgoers to allow a trial of medically supervised pill-testing, something's wrong when 16-year-olds are strip-searched and something's wrong when the music festival industry talks about simply leaving the state. It appears the coroner is taking a harm-reduction approach that could actually save lives. New South Wales was brave enough to trial harm-minimisation with the safe injecting room in Kings Cross nearly 20 years ago. We really have very little to lose by trying a new approach, because while I, like most mothers, would rather that none of our children took drugs, what is currently happening at music festivals almost guarantees that more tragedies will occur. If the evidence from a trial doesn't support its effectiveness, there's little damage done, but it might mean that someone's brother, girlfriend, daughter or dad who goes to a music festival actually goes home at the end of it. I say to the Premier of New South Wales: business-as-usual is not good enough.