Free Pill Testing Kits Will Be Available at Australian Music Festivals This Summer
In an effort to reduce harm rather than simply crack down on drugs, testing kits will be available at select music festivals in Australia this season.This article originally appeared on Vice
Thousands of free DIY pill testing kits will be made available at major Australian music festivals this summer, as part of a joint initiative between national drug reform organisation Harm Reduction Australia and other advocacy groups including Dancewise.
With drug-related festival deaths on the rise, it's hoped that the kits will help young people party more safely—but it's not the solution that advocates wanted.
Speaking to VICE, Harm Reduction Australia's president Gino Vumbaca explained how comprehensive clinical testing labs, which operate at major European music festivals, are a far more trustworthy alternative to reagent kits. These labs allow patrons to receive expert advice and chemical analysis of the pills they're taking. The results are much more detailed and foolproof than those provided by DIY kits, which can detect active ingredients but not their dosage.
"We've been trying to get state governments to introduce a proper drug testing regime like they do throughout Austria, Switzerland, London now as well. But to no avail—the government won't even contemplate our proposal," Vumbaca said.
Vumbaca argues that not only are clinical labs much more effective than DIY kits, but they also have a significant impact on the drug market. "Manufacturers of pills are put on notice," he told VICE.