Innocent lives around the world are being lost at music festivals. Young individuals enjoying various songs and the joy of friendship are having their lives destroyed by the consumption of dangerous pills. These scenarios are avoidable, and that is why they are so heart-wrenching. So how do we solve this increasingly prevalent issue in society?

Cancelling all musical festivals will not solve this issue. Why? Firstly, the music industry relies on music festivals. They can showcase local talent, propel careers and create a culture within communities. They draw people together and a vital aspect of society. If there was a significant alcohol abuse problem at sporting games (arguably this is already the case), but people lost their lives as a result, do we just cancel all sporting games? And make athletes compete in isolated stadiums? Cancelling music festivals does not solve the problem.

Increasing police presence and authority will not solve this issue. Why? Police activity at music festivals has not stopped the consumption of pills. From the very start of festivals, there have been security and police. As more incidents occurred, the numbers of police on patrol increased, but we still have the loss of life happening. Moreover, the authority of police to perform searches has come under scrutiny, leaving individuals humiliated. This is compounded by a coronial inquest which heard evidence that in some cases, a heavy police presence at music festival may have contributed to drug-related deaths due to fear. Increasing police presence and authority will not solve this issue.

So, what can we do to protect young individuals in our society at festivals?

Introduce pill testing. For months, this decision has been debated at all levels of government, particularly in Australia but also globally. Politicians have decided to ignore blatant facts in favour of the circus of democracy. Regardless, these are the reasons why we need pill testing.

Pill testing has a positive impact on young people’s drug consumption behaviour. A report in the UK found that 20% of service users disposed of substances when the drug testing service revelated the substance to be other than what had been intended to be purchased. Moreover, a further two-thirds of individuals whose samples did not match their intended purchase disposed of additional substances. These are clear examples of drugs being removed from music festivals without the influence of enforcement agencies, and possibly saving lives.

Pill testing also changes the black market as dangerous products are removed due to warning campaigns. Furthermore, visits to pill-testing booths provide an essential opportunity for providing support and information over and above the testing itself. Pill testing can also capture long-term data, allowing for an early warning system beyond immediate users.

The consistent line of argument by politicians is that pill testing will promote further drug use among young people. Pill testing does not encourage drug use. It protects our community, and several doctors have implored the Premier to lead a trial in New South Wales. Pill testing is a clear way that we can reduce the harm of illicit substances, and that should be encouraged.

With all things considered, any action of harm reduction needs to weigh up the benefits and risks. Currently, the dangers of pill testing are extremely low. There is no evidence showing increasing use of drugs with the presence of pill testing; however, there is strong evidence of reduced consumption in association with pill testing. This is why we need pill testing.

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6 thoughts on “Why we need Pill Testing

  1. Hi. Well written post. And thanks for dropping by my site and leaving a comment.
    I read the news today and saw the same results published. The kids dumped their substances once it was shown they were harmful.
    I’m not convinced it should be up to on-site chemists to green or red light drugs distributed at these meets.
    First, green lighting won’t happen. No official will advise anyone to swallow anything once it’s presented, therefore it’s a one way outcome. Kids already know that. They know it’s illegal and it won’t pass. It’s kind of the point when they buy them.
    Testing won’t stop deaths.
    Secondly, the issue lies at the stranger danger rules taught at home – rather those that are not reinforced enough to protect them when they’re alone.
    -M

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    1. Thank you for your comment. I’m a bit confused with what you have said. You say that testing won’t stop deaths, but that is exactly what it has proven. Individuals desposing of drugs is the way that their lives can be preserved. The officials do not advise anyone. They provide the information. This allows for the people to make a decision.

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      1. Hi.
        I’ll knew that line was ambiguous after I sent it. I’ll rephrase it.
        They’ll keep dying.
        There’s a belief amongst them that it’s okay to eat unknown substances.
        It’s wrong to ingest anything foreign. Just because it looks edible doesn’t mean it goes into a mouth.
        Education BEFORE passing through the gates of an event is better than safety netting after the fact.
        Parents need to get onto their kids early and work hard at it every day before sending them out in the real world. There are no safety nets out there.
        If government HAS to be involved at the party end, then my recommendation is for it to turn laxative pills into party drugs and then flood key events with them. Take the kids to the brink of death and embarrassment to remind them of the consequences of putting an unknown chemical into their bodies. -M

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      2. I don’t know where you get the generic statement that, “there’s a belief amongst them that it’s okay to eat unknown substances”. I am sorry, but this is a serious generalisation. This is far from the truth. Yes, there might be a small percentage who don’t care about what they put into their mouths, but young individuals deserve more credit than you have provided. Just the thought of going to get drugs tested, which 80% of festival goers reported doing, is clearly demonstrating that the belief of youth taking anything is wrong, they are able to think rationally.

        Education is great. Education is needed. I don’t disagree with you, but we need to focus upon harm minimisation. This is what pill testing allows for.

        Thoughts?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hi and thanks for the chat.

        I give them plenty of credit through my generalisation. I’m being pretty fair using it. The only reasonable alternatives are that they are stupid or suicidal.

        I prefer to think that they aren’t either of these two and truly believe that it’ll be fine to take an unknown drug.

        Their belief, although flawed, is that they won’t die or get sick, they’ll just have some fun, better fun with it than without it.

        It’s seen as an acceptable risk.

        The irony is most wouldn’t eat leftovers in a respectful restaurant from a stranger’s plate despite knowing that the food is immediately identifiable and was prepared in a hygienic kitchen – but they’ll pop a colorful unknown object into their mouths and swallow that instead.

        Their reasoning is skewed and education should be there to skew it right back. Don’t swallow what you don’t know.

        I’m not for the testing idea at all.

        I like parents educating their offspring much better. I also like my laxative substitution idea to support it. One explosive experience at a public event is all it’d take for them to think twice.
        -M

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yes, for some parents education is possible. But for others it is not. Children have many different forms of upbringing, and for some, that education from a young age is not provided.

        Yeah but through your generalisation you are assuming that lots of youth are taking these drugs. That is also incorrect. It is in reality a very small percentage of youth who are consuming or deciding to consume illict substances.

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