A pill testing trial run earlier this year at Groovin the Moo Canberra has now been endorsed by an independent review conducted by researchers from Australian National University.

The critical finding of the report is that in all seven instances of dangerous drugs being detected, the owners threw away the drug.

The researchers also found that even when people decided to take drugs after using the service, they heeded safety advice including taking a lower dose, using less frequently and drinking more water.

Dr Anna Olsen, the leader of the review, indicated that a further positive was the information researchers were able to gather about drug circulation and use. “The service also provided valuable new information on the drug market at the time, detecting a dangerous substance in circulation as well as finding that a high proportion of the drugs presented for testing were MDMA.”

The many harm-reduction benefits indicated by the report provide further support for pill testing at festivals, and lend further weight to the words of Emergency Medicine Consultant Dr David Caldicott, who oversaw the clinical team at both pilots.

“There is no doubt among experts and health industry bodies that providing a pill testing service which includes face to face interactions for patrons with health and medical professionals significantly reduces harm and the consumption of dangerous illicit drugs,” said Dr Caldicott. “With two pill testing pilots conducted in Australia having provided the data that supports this theory the onus really is on those who oppose pill testing to provide more than empty rhetoric to support their position.”

Find the ACT Pill Testing Evaluation here.

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