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The ACT Greens have stepped up their calls for a pill testing trial in the capital.

The Keep Canberra Safe campaign launched today urges Labor to take a new health-focused approach to drug use by trialling a pill testing service.

“The law and order approach to drug use hasn’t worked, and across Australia people are getting sick, and dying as a result,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“We have to accept that despite all the efforts on enforcement and education, some young people still take illicit drugs – and in this situation the right thing to do is to try to minimise the tragic harm and deaths that can result.”

Canberrans are being asked to sign a petition, calling for a pill testing trial in the ACT.

It’s as three young people have died in Melbourne from drug overdoses already this year and at least 20 have been hospitalised.

Two young people from the NSW Hunter region also died horrific deaths after overdosing on synthetic drugs.

“Ongoing political inaction on this issue is allowing this harm to continue and is failing to meet community expectations to keep our young people safe,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“The case for pill testing is well established. It has been happening in several European countries for years and is proven to lower the level of drug use and keep people alive.”

The trial would allow medical experts to test pills on-site for toxic impurities that could harm festival-goers, or potentially kill them. 

“The reality is most drug takers are unaware of the origin and chemical make-up of what they put into their body. Many pills contain a range of substances from tranquilisers to amphetamines, which means users are effectively playing Russian roulette every time they take something.”

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said there’s a huge range of legal and health implications that need to be considered before any formal pill testing service could operate safely.

“A health-focused and evidence-based policy doesn’t usually start with one political party making a political demand on another political party,” he said.

“The only way to avoid the significant health risks is not to take drugs. We know some people will ignore these risks so we are already taking steps to reduce harm, reduce supply and reduce demand.”

For more information and to sign the petition visit the Keep Canberra Safe website.

Do you think we should have a pill testing trial in the ACT? Have your say on our Facebook page!

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