After years of pressure from three progressive crossbench parties, the Victorian Labor Government has finally announced pill testing. 

The Victorian Greens, the Animal Justice Party, and Legalise Cannabis Victoria have welcomed the announcement that follows their joint Pill Testing for Drug Harm Reduction Bill which was announced earlier this year. 

The three crossbench parties said the trial must be rolled out effectively for the Summer festival season in order to protect young lives.

They said that the evidence-based solutions included in their historic bill must be reflected in the government’s trial, including a mobile pill testing service for major music festivals and a fixed-site service for more detailed analysis year round. 

Quotes attributable to Greens spokesperson for Drug Harm Reduction Aiv Puglielli: 

“We have been calling for pill testing in line with the evidence, meaning mobile pill testing service for major festivals and a fixed-site service for more detailed analysis year round. 

“We need to see these services rolled out and running for Summer so that we know we’re doing everything we can to keep young people safe. Every day that pills go untested, young people's lives are at risk. 

“The reality is that people in the community will take drugs. We know that young people are going to take drugs. Whether that’s at raves, parties or festivals. And we know that there are dangerous substances circulating and by just having access to this service where they can simply be aware of the risks and dosage they’re taking, it can save their life.

“Tough talk from cops and politicians wont save lives. Sniffer dogs won’t save lives. Pill testing will.” 

Quotes attributable to Animal Justice Party Member for Northern Victoria, Georgie Purcell MLC: 

“As one of the youngest members of the Victorian Parliament, I know the reality is people take drugs. And now, we will finally make it safer for them to do so.”

“Growing up and experimenting shouldn’t be a death sentence, but last Summer festival season far too many young people ended up in hospital beds – or worse.” 

“This is sensible, evidence and health-based policy that can and will save lives.”

Quotes attributable to Legalise Cannabis Victoria Member for South-East Metro, Rachel Payne MLC: 

“Pill testing is sensible policy reform. Multiple experts, including Coroners and harm reduction specialists have called for a harm minimisation, health-led approach when it comes to totally preventable deaths related to drug-taking.”

“Pill testing saves lives - the evidence is really clear. I am thankful to the Premier and Minister Stitt for showing leadership on this issue and responding to the calls for change. 

This is not about politics, as we have seen crossbench colleagues come together to call for reform. It’s about good policy that saves lives”. 

“Now it’s important that we see these services rolled out in a way that is going to keep people safe ahead of the Summer festival period when we know young people are at increased risk.” 

Ms Payne said she would also like to see a fixed site service provision for drug checking as well as mobile services. 

“We know young people will access mobile testing sites at a festival, but fixed site services are more accessible to the wider public and also means there is more opportunity for in-depth analysis and to put alerts out if a dangerous substance is circulating”. 

“It’s proved effective in the ACT and needs to be replicated here."