Pill testing: lawyers commend Hobart Council and call on state government to reconsider its position
23rd Jul 2019
The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) today commended Hobart City Council’s decision to endorse pill testing at festivals.
“This decision shows great leadership,” said ALA spokesperson, Greg Barns. “The Council is sensibly responding to the strong medical evidence that shows pill testing will save lives, and to the growing wave of support for this approach.”
However, the ALA is disappointed that the state government is refusing to re-consider its position on pill testing.
“The government has an obligation to ensure that young people are safe at festivals,” said Mr Barns. “Year after year young people die or suffer serious harm at music festivals and pill testing will help to minimise this.
“Human lives matter more than failed prohibitionist drug policies. Simply exhorting young people to ‘say no to drugs’ does not work and the government needs to listen to health experts on this issue.”
Pill-testing facilities at festivals is supported by many health and medical organisations and is widely acknowledged as an effective tool for minimising harm.
“Our priority must be to avoid deaths and minimise harm. This is a health problem not a legal problem, and the main focus of legal strategies should be to encourage positive health outcomes,” said Mr Barns.
“The reality is that young people will experiment with drugs and they are being needlessly exposed to death or physical and mental harm when we have the ability to prevent this through pill testing.”