Routine pill testing for a kinder, safer Canberra

2021-10-12

The ACT Greens have welcomed $260,000 in the 2021/22 ACT Budget to pilot a permanent pill testing site in Canberra’s CBD, saying it will reduce harm and stigma.

“We know pill testing saves lives,” said ACT Greens spokesperson for Drug Harm Reduction Johnathan Davis MLA. “We saw this during the successful pill testing trials at the ‘Groovin The Moo’ music festival in both 2018 and 2019.

“There are many people in our community who use drugs recreationally. Offering a permanent place where people can test their pills is one way our government can help people who are planning to use drugs, to stay healthy and safe.

“Pill testing is part of the essential transition to treating drug use in our community as a health issue. It goes hand in hand with reducing stigma and supporting people who are experiencing problems with their drug use.

“The ACT Greens took a comprehensive drug harm reduction policy to the election, including a plan to provide routine pill testing at festivals and to resource a permanent pill testing site. With Greens in government and ACT Labor coming on board, it’s great that the ACT Budget is supporting this crucial service.

“I look forward to seeing pill testing rolled out as soon as possible and would like for this to be a continuous service, providing ongoing support to members of our community. 

“After the initial six month pilot, a review should allow for adjustments rather than a pause to ensure continuity of the service to the community” said Mr Davis.

“Pill testing has been shown to significantly reduce the harms from drug use by providing accurate information directly to people about the content of the substances they are about to consume,” said Gino Vumbaca OAM, President of Harm Reduction Australia & Convener of Pill Testing Australia.

“Too many Australian young people lose their lives each year from drug use and pill testing, along with a range of other harm reduction strategies, can help reduce that risk. We hope that the information provided by our ACT pilot program will allow other governments in Australia to also allow evidence to guide their decisions.

“I thank the ACT Greens for their long-standing support of our efforts to have this very important public health service available in the ACT.”