Port Phillip Council calls for pill testing trial

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Port Phillip Council is urging the Victorian Government to allow it to hold the State’s first pill testing trial at festivals, clubs and dance parties in the municipality.

A resolution calling for the Government to enact legislation to make a pilot program legal, and to provide sufficient funding for the testing at consenting venues, was passed at tonight’s Council meeting.

Councillor Dick Gross, who moved the notice of motion calling for the trial, said Council was eager to work with the Victorian Government on evaluating the effectiveness of pill-testing as a way of minimising the risk of harm to those using illicit drugs and potentially changing the behaviour of users.

“While we acknowledge not everyone supports our proposal, we hope they will reconsider their view as recent deaths and hospitalisations linked to illicit drug taking show a new approach is urgently needed,” Cr Gross said.

“A pilot program would provide important data for an informed debate on the merits of pill testing and potentially save lives by alerting recreational drug users to bad batches of illicit drugs.”

Cr Ogy Simic, who jointly authored the proposal, said: “Port Phillip is an ideal location for a trial as we are a popular choice for large entertainment events, including music festivals.”

Cr Simic said Council’s call should not be seen as condoning drug use at any events, including this month’s upcoming St Kilda Festival, which is a family friendly event.

“Our call for a pilot program is about recognising a general need in Victoria for a new way of tackling the dangers of recreational drug use,” Cr Simic said.

“While there is no single solution to ensuring everyone’s safety, we believe pill testing is a valid potential tool which should be explored by the Victorian Government in partnership with our Council.

“Medical, scientific and legal experts agree that pill testing should be implemented immediately. “It’s the honest conversation we had to have.”

 

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