Government officials, health experts and music festival organizers in Sydney are working together to promote harm reduction efforts with drug use. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, thousands of free, pill-testing kids will be available for use at this year's summer music festivals in Sydney.
The tests will be able to identify the presence of certain drugs, but they will not be able to identify if the drugs were cut with other unknown substances.
However, not everyone is on board with the effort. Earlier this year, Dr. Alex Kodak of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation and Dr. David Caldicott, an emergency medical specialist, announced a privately-funded trial for drug testing that would run with or without the government. Although the trial received some support from former governmental officials, NSW Police Minister Troy Grant said anyone trying to access the trial would be arrested.
Premier Mike Baird earlier announced "anyone associated with a pill-testing trial" would face prosecution. According to the newspaper, the incoming influx of kits will be considered a "protest maneuver."
"When it came to discussing the available options with government, we couldn't even get a foot in the door," said Gino Vumbaca, the present of Harm Reduction Australia. "We have since decided we cannot sit back idly and do nothing." Vumbaca also previously ran the Australian National Council on Drugs.
"These kits give no information about purity and one of the biggest problems we have in this summer's market is very high dose MDMA. It is disappointing," said Caldicott. "There is a far better way we could do this. But they [the government] have ignored the evidence and expertise available to them."