The Greens on drugs

Big bag of drugs

THE ACT Greens have announced their plan to trial pill testing at festivals and host a drug law reform summit in the ACT.

“The old ways of dealing with drugs just aren’t working. People lives are being put at risk because they are not getting the help they need,” said ACT Greens alcohol and other drugs spokesperson Michael Mazengarb.

“We need to put the community first and find new ways to deal with the drug crisis. Last year six young people died from misuse of party drugs at festivals. This is six too many.

“We need pill testing facilities because one more death is simply not acceptable.

“The other parties have had years to take action and they’ve failed. Just months ago, they voted down our calls for drug law reform in the Legislative Assembly.

“The Liberals are ideologically wedded to the ineffective, outdated law-and-order approach and Labor doesn’t have the courage to show political leadership and put the safety of young people first.

“We must move on from the old ‘law and order’ approach to drug use and put the safety, and lives, of young people first.”

Dr Monica Barratt, Research Fellow at the Drug Policy Modelling Program at UNSW has backed the Greens’ new approach to drug use.

“There is strong evidence from UK and other countries that many people will discard drugs after receiving unexpected results from a credible service.

“These services take particularly dangerous drug combinations out of the market while providing what can often be the only interaction with a health professional about drug use that a festival-attendee may have.

“The evidence strongly supports conducting an Australian trial of testing drugs at festivals, so I commend the Greens on their pragmatic approach to this area of health policy,” said Dr Barrett.

“It takes courage to have difficult conversations about drug use. The Greens aren’t afraid to stand with the community and take a new approach,” concluded Mr Mazengarb.

UPDATE: Jeremy Hanson is not a fan:

Andrew Barr and Shane Rattenbury’s plans to decriminalise dangerous drugs and allow government sanctioned pill testing at festivals will effectively allow illegal drug dealers to certify their dangerous products, Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Hanson said today.

“Judging by their comments at last night’s ACTCOSS Forum, Mr Barr and Mr Rattenbury are saying to drug dealers, who deal dangerous drugs like ice, that all is well with their enterprises. They’re saying that the consumption of dangerous illegal drugs is acceptable. It’s blatantly irresponsible,” Mr Hanson said.

“The Canberra Liberals will not pursue decriminalisation of dangerous drugs like ice and will not allow pill testing, but somehow Mr Barr thinks our position isn’t rational.

He’s the one who’s not being rational.

“Instead of discouraging dangerous drug use Andrew Barr’s and Shane Rattenbury’s answer is to legitimise it. It is ridiculous to provide the resources of government to legitimise illegal drugs and promote the business of drug dealers.

“This plan is dangerous, it’s irresponsible and it sends the wrong message about illegal drugs to people considering taking them as well as drug dealers,” Mr Hanson concluded.

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