David Crosling/ AAP
New research shows Australians are becoming more open to less punitive responses to drug use.
If NSW takes on the coroner’s recommendations, it will be among the most innovative and evidence-based states in Australia on drug policy.
Pill testing, no more sniffer dogs and fewer strip searches are some of the ways the NSW coroner says will reduce drug deaths at music festivals.
The first of its kind in Australia, the offence of ‘drug supply causing death’ carries a maximum 20 year sentence.
Similar laws in the US have actually led to increasing the risk of fatal drug overdoses.
The average festival goer is young, white, well educated and employed.
Most drug use among Australian festival goers appears to be occasional and isn't problematic. But a small group experience higher rates of drug-related harms.
Festival goers bring their phones. So why not use them to receive tweets about high-dose drugs in circulation, as the UK is doing?
from Vinnikava Viktoryia/www.shutterstock.com
There are many ways to reduce harm from drugs at music festivals beyond the much publicised pill testing. Here's what else we can do.
New research into pill testing at festivals shows not everyone reacts to a test result the way you’d expect.
New research shows some festival goers are willing to take a dodgy pill regardless of the test result. So, let's use pill testing to educate them and others about reducing their risk.
Can you be sure which pill is which? It can be difficult to tell if you’ve picked the correct medication.
The technology to identify pills is getting cheaper and smaller. That means it could also be used to test the make-up of illegal pills at festivals and other events.
Billboard outside St Andrew’s Presbyterian, Murwillumbah, NSW 2018.
Louise Moana Kolff
Originally designed to display service times or bible quotations, church signs are becoming a site of political commentary, tackling everything from pill testing to refugee rights.
The use of drug dogs leads to riskier drug-taking at festivals.
It's ineffective to use drug dogs at festivals and in public places because they're much more likely to catch small-time users than suppliers.
“Just say no” messages are ignored because young people want to have fun.
People who use party drugs say it gives them energy to dance and socialise, reduces their inhibitions and enhances their feelings of connection to others.
When considering harm to the user and to wider society, alcohol is much more of a problem than MDMA.
Most people assume drugs are illegal because they are dangerous, but the reasons aren't related to their relative risk or harm.
If you or a friend become confused, very hot and sweaty, and possibly aggressive after taking a pill, seek help.
Illicit drugs can be dangerous. Read this before you use so you know what to look out for.
MDMA itself isn’t a dangerous drug. But adulterants found in drugs made by at-home chemists can be deadly.
Every summer we hear of more deaths from drugs at festivals. But MDMA was originally a medicine, so how can it kill users?
Users may or may not know they’re taking MDPV.
Monkey dust is in the "bath salts" family. Here's what that means.
Reagent test kits are not as effective as specialist testing. But it’s better than nothing.
With several music festival patrons dying this year the pill testing debate is in full swing. Yet people can already purchase legally available test kits. Do they work?
Pill testing is a rare opportunity to speak to drug users about their drug use.
There are arguments against pill testing. But none are as compelling or evidence-based as the arguments for it.
The not-for-profit UK group The Loop said it tested the drug ecstasy with ‘loop lasers’ at a festival in July 2016.
The Loop UK/Facebook
Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said conducting on-site drug tests at public events "safely and quickly is not really a practical option". But the technology is available.
Drug consumers are using DIY kits in an attempt to find out what substances they’re ingesting – but these rudimentary kits won’t paint a full picture.
In the absence of any more sophisticated options, drug consumers are resorting to drug testing kits they can access themselves.
Drug checking would make music festivals safer.
Not only are our drug policies not working, we're falling behind the rest of the world and what evidence says is best to ensure we have fewer deaths from illicit drugs.
This has been one of the worst starts to the music festival season ever, in terms of harm from overdoses.
Testing drugs at music festivals not only means we can assess whether they contain anything unexpected, but it's an opportunity to try to change the behaviour of users.