The Victorian Greens have said Labor needs stop ignoring expert health advice and introduce pill testing as a matter of urgency, to help keep young people safer.
The Greens say each day the state government delays reform is another day a young person could be at risk of overdose or drug-related death.
Earlier today, a coalition of 77 peak bodies, unions and health services signed an open letter calling on the government to implement drug checking (including pill testing) and a public early warning system.
This follows a recent Victorian Coroner recommendation to establish pill testing, the fourth coronial report in the state to do so.
Victorian Greens drug harm reduction spokesperson, Aiv Puglielli, said there was 20 years of evidence from the UK, Europe and North America, and a fully operational and successful pill testing service in Canberra that clearly showed pill testing protects young people.
He added that the war on drugs had clearly failed, and that it made no sense that the government continued to reject measures that would help keep young people safer.
During the last term of Parliament the Greens had a two-year pill testing trial costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office. The trial would establish both a mobile pill testing facility for festivals and a fixed-site laboratory for more detailed analysis.
The costing found that it would amount to only $1.3 million per year, while the testing equipment and establishment of the sites would amount to $1.2 million dollars ($3.8 million in total).
Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens drug harm reduction spokesperson, Aiv Puglielli MLC:
“The current war on drugs puts young people’s lives at risk.
“Each day the Victorian Labor Government refuses to listen to expert health advice and back pill testing is another day a young person could be at risk of overdose or drug-related death.
“The summer festival season is around the corner, and we know people will be taking drugs.
“A criminal approach is not going to keep them safer. Sniffer dogs are not going to keep them safer. Pill testing will.
“It’s time for this government to get its head out of the sand and get on with this long overdue reform.”