Top cop slams idea of pill testing at music festivals

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has sensationally slammed the idea of pill testing at music festivals saying it creates a "false confidence" among drug users.

It comes just three days after deputy state coroner Harriet Grahame recommended the introduction of pill testing and the abolition of sniffer dogs at music festivals following an inquest into the deaths of six partygoers.

 

Commissioner Mick Fuller said pill testing created a “false confidence” in partygoers. Picture: Jane Dempster
Commissioner Mick Fuller said pill testing created a “false confidence” in partygoers. Picture: Jane Dempster

 

"The NSW Police Force does not support pill testing. I'm gravely concerned about the message that pill testing sends to young people about the consumption of illegal substances," Mr Fuller said in a statement released today.

"Pill testing provides a false confidence to an individual that the drug they want to take is safe. There is no such thing. All illegal substances carry the risk of harming, or ultimately killing, the user."

He has taken the extraordinary step of reinforcing his opposition to pill testing today, despite releasing a formal response to the inquiry's findings on Friday.

He used evidence give at budget estimates last month by NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant to support his position.

"Dr Chant stated most of the harm occurring due to the consumption of illicit substances was not through contaminants," Mr Fuller said in the statement today.

Deputy state coroner Harriet Grahame recommended the introduction of pill testing and the abolition of sniffer dogs at music festivals. Picture: AAP
Deputy state coroner Harriet Grahame recommended the introduction of pill testing and the abolition of sniffer dogs at music festivals. Picture: AAP

"Most of the harm occurs from drugs people intended to purchase. Pill testing will not reduce this harm.

"At present, the technology does not allow for adequate identification of dose levels or small traces of highly toxic substances.

The testing method, in which only a small portion of a pill is tested, is also an inaccurate reflection of the composition of the entire pill.

"These are some of the critical flaws in proposals to test pills at dance parties and music festivals, and as such, any such proposal will not be supported by me."

He said police wanted to reduce harm to young drug takers by continuing to bust drug supply networks and organised crime.

"Harm minimisation strategies including education and early intervention programs are also key in reducing drug uptake," Mr Fuller said.



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