Media Release

Pill Testing Proposals Misguided

Australian Christian Lobby statement regarding pill testing 

Recent drug-related deaths at festivals over the holiday period have renewed the push for pill testing in Australia 

The Australian Christian Lobby notes that drugs are inherently unsafe regardless of whether they have been tested. For example, 15-year-old Anna Wood died from ecstasy not because it was tainted, but because of the idiosyncratic effects of any illicit drug.

Illicit drugs remain illegal and should be treated as such by governments and by the police. Not enforcing the law sends an unfortunate message, especially to young people, who are partly released from taking responsibility for wrong decisions and don’t get the message that drug-taking is both dangerous and foolish. 

Testing a pill creates a permission structure for consumption of the pill, thereby giving implicit approval to dangerous and irresponsible behaviour which no careful parent would wish their child to partake in. 

In any event, as with most ‘harm minimisation’ systems, it is unlikely that pill testing would have the benefits claimed by advocates.  Research conducted during the first pill testing trial in Australia at Canberra’s Groovin the Moo last year showed that only 18 percent of festival-goers would decide not to take a drug which returned an adverse test result. 

State governments should continue to enforce the law and reject pill-testing proposals. 

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