Support for pill testing at music festivals in Australia continues to gain mainstream traction, with a former Australian Federal Police commissioner endorsing the harm minimisation measure in the wake of two tragic deaths at Sydney's Defqon.1.
Mick Palmer joined drug law reform campaigner Matt Noffs of the Noffs Foundation at the National Press Club today (September 25) to call for the service to be rolled out across Australia.
New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian has doubled down on her opposition to pill testing following the two recent festival deaths, drawing heavy criticism.
She plans to set up a panel supposedly aimed at exploring how to making festivals safer - but won't consider the measure experts, the industry, festival-goers and parents are calling for.
Mr Palmer said: "My mind boggles at the thought that a government is not even prepared to start a trial of pill testing. Clearly she and other state premiers opposing the idea do not have the courage to say what we've got now is not working."
The new national campaign he and Mr Noffs were launching, 'Take Control', is aimed at educating parents and children that drug use can be brought under control by putting health and safety first, according to Mr Noffs, who was a key figure in the implementation of a trial at Canberra's Groovin' The Moo this year, which revealed 'deadly' substances.
As well as pill testing, the 'Take Control' plan includes ending criminal charges for minor possession of illicit drugs, establishing more drug monitoring rooms, such as safe injecting facilities, expanding the number of treatment centres for those with drug problems and enhancing engagement services for disadvantaged young people, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Scott Carbines is Mixmag's Australian Digital Content Editor, follow him on Twitter