More than 80 per cent of festival-goers that used the pill testing service at Canberra's Groovin' The Moo festival believed they were taking MDMA but less than 50 per cent of samples showed a "reasonably high purity" of the drug.
The findings of Australia's recent landmark drug checking operation have been released by Harm Reduction Australia, showing samples included substances ranging from the potentially deadly N-Ethylpentylone, to opium, toothpaste, oil, cutting agent and caffeine.
Of the total samples, 45 per cent had MDMA above the cut off amount for a "reasonably high purity," while nothing was detected above the cut off in 52 per cent, and 3 per cent were marked as "other."
The dangerous N-Ethylpentylone was found in a substance presented by a man who thought it was "meth."
The report states: "Even though no information about the availability of the service was provided to patrons at the festival, 129 people located the facility and were assessed as eligible to access the pill testing site."
Australian Capital Territory ambulance commander Toby Keen said: "We didn’t see anyone who'd been to pill testing. It's worthwhile noting the people we transported for acute
intoxication hadn't been to pill testing which I think is actually a good success marker for the pill testing."
STA-SAFE, the consortium that conducted the trial, gave six recommendations, including that other states and territories discuss with their ACT counterparts the introduction of pill testing services, call on STA-SAFE's knowledge in the implementation of pill testing and the federal government "take a national leadership role in advancing a mixed-model approach to pill testing as a harm reduction service across Australia, where front-of-house testing services are delivered on site at music events and festivals, as well as at fixed locations."
Read the full report here.
Scott Carbines is Mixmag's Australian Digital Content Editor, follow him on Twitter