Advocates of pill testing got some good news today, with the University of Canberra publicly throwing its support behind hosting Australia's first pill testing trial at the upcoming Groovin' the Moo festival. The Canberra leg of GTM, set for April 26, is held on the university's grounds.
"The University of Canberra is open to supporting a pill-testing trial at a festival held on university grounds," a university spokesperson told the ABC, "providing the main stakeholders and relevant authorities are all in agreement."
The main stakeholders, in this case, are the ACT government, police, pill testers, and the festival's promoters.
Both the ACT Government and police green lit Canberra's last prospective pill testing trial, which was meant to happen at Spilt Milk in November, 2017. “The evidence is that by allowing this pill testing to take place at Spilt Milk we can help keep young people safe," ACT health minister Meegan Fitzharris said of that trial. "The ACT Government has carefully assessed the proposal from STA-Safe and will allow pill testing at Spilt Milk."
Despite the government's support, the Spilt Milk trial fell over at the last minute—with the promoter saying the testers, STA-Safe, hadn't provided all the necessary paperwork. STA-Safe refuted this, arguing the promoter got cold feet because the festival was to be held on federal land, overseen by the Turnbull Government.
Neither the ACT government nor the promoters of GTM, Cattleyard, have made any public comment about this new pill testing trial application. But STA-Safe welcomes the University of Canberra's support:
"We’re delighted to have the support, not just of a venue, but of an academic institution which is clearly capable of sorting through the science and arriving at the right conclusion," Dr David Caldicott told VICE. "It’s just more affirmation that the ACT seems to be leading the charge in sensible, evidence-based drugs policy.
"We’re eager to hear from the event organisers... we’re very hopeful that this could be Australia's first pill testing trial."
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