The Victorian Greens have warned the new Premier of the risks posed by untested substances to the lives of young people, following reports of potent opioid nitazene pills being detected in NSW.
The Greens say establishing a pill testing service in Victoria would help detect the circulation of pills like this and prevent young people from harm.
The ‘Red Bull’ pills were detected by harm reduction organisation DanceWize via NSW Health, and are reportedly laced with nitazene, a dangerously potent synthetic opioid known to be stronger than the often lethal fentanyl, and with longer lasting effects.
These pills can cause overdose very suddenly, as nitazenes can affect a person’s breathing more than other opioids.
Victorian Greens drug harm reduction spokesperson, Aiv Puglielli, said despite existing harm reduction measures in place in Victoria such as fentanyl testing strips, these nitazene-laced pills could easily slip through the cracks undetected.
He added that these pills were reportedly being sold as the popular party drug MDMA, despite being found to contain no MDMA at all.
Mr Puglielli said this was a crucial reminder of the need for pill testing in Victoria as these dangerous untested substances circulate throughout the community, with the risk of these ‘Red Bull’ pills crossing state borders.
Earlier this month, the new Premier said she was planning to “seek further advice” on pill testing before making further comment, following several festival-related hospitalisations in Victoria.
Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens drug harm reduction spokesperson, Aiv Puglielli MLC:
"These dangerous pills risk the lives of many young Victorians. Taking even half of one of these ‘Red Bulls’ has been shown to put people in hospital.
“We cannot allow the new Premier to blame young people for coming to preventable harm, or put reform in the too-hard basket.
“The new Premier has said she’s seeking further advice on pill testing - well the advice is clear, and it’s been there for years, both at home and overseas: pill testing saves lives.
“Sniffer dogs will not save lives. Tough talk from cops and politicians will not save lives. Pill testing will.”