Doctors Threatened With Manslaughter Charges Over Pill Testing
Two Australian drug experts, Dr. Alex Wodak and emergency medical specialist David Caldicott recently stated that they would commence a privately funded drug testing trial, despite opposition from the government of New South Wales. Now Police Minister and Deputy Premier Troy Grant has threatened them with manslaughter charges.
Drug testing at music events has long been a controversial topic in the electronic music world. Advocates for testing argue that it's an essential harm reduction measure that saves lives, giving users the chance to identify and avoid taking dangerous drugs that are sold as other, less dangerous drugs.
Opponents insist that governments cannot support or condone drug checking because it would imply that they condone or support use. In America, the RAVE Act threatens event organizers with felony drug charges for anything that could be interpreted as enabling drug use - which could certainly apply to pill testing.
Drs. Wodak and Caldicott stated that they are prepared to break the law in the interest of saving lives, and Minister Grant responded by saying that they could face harsh legal consequences if they move forward with their plans.
“If these [tested] pills go wrong and kill someone, they may well be vulnerable to manslaughter charges”
His comment about manslaughter charges was part of an interview on radio station 2UE, which you can listen to below. It's abundantly clear that Grant cares more for his righteous crusade to uphold impractical, harmful laws than for the lives and safety of young people. It's sad that a government official would be so uncaring and unreasonable. As Dr. Caldicott stated:
“It’s very straight forward. We want to run a trial at a place where everyone is using drugs anyway. It’s time for our politicians and elected representatives to catch up with what the majority of parents want for their children, which is for them to return home safe.”
Pill testing is not about condoning drug use. It's about accepting the reality that many people will use drugs regardless of the law, and taking steps to minimize the harms that users face.