After a stormy last summer festival season in Australia that saw tragic drug deaths at multiple festivals, authorities are taking a step in the right direction to protect festivalgoers by allowing for free pill testing kits to be made readily available at all of Sydney’s music festivals.
Despite what seems like a clear signal that the government will try to actively minimize drug deaths, Premier of NSW Mike Baird is remaining firm on his hardline stance of threatening to prosecute anybody associated with a pill testing trial.
That said, harm minimization advocates are carrying out what they call a “protest maneuver” by flooding the festivals with thousands of DIY drug-testing kits. Though the legality of these kits remain in question, Gino Vumbaca, president of Harm Reduction Australia, was adamant about doing their part: “when it came to discussing the available options with government, we couldn’t even get a foot in the door…we have since decided we cannot sit back idly and do nothing.”
While the free kits are limited in functionality, there’s hope that even being able to identify the presence of certain drugs in pills, without any information on purity or quantity of said drug, could potentially save a life or two.