RACP writes to nation’s leaders: there is sufficient evidence to support pill testing trials

17 January 2019

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has written an open letter to all state and territory leaders to confirm there is enough evidence to support trials of pill testing in order to reduce harm. The College has urged state and territory governments to follow the lead of the ACT Government in consulting with medical experts to establish pill testing trials.

“The RACP’s experts in addiction medicine and public health medicine believe the evidence currently available justifies the introduction of carefully designed pill testing trials in Australia,” Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones, President, Chapter of Addiction Medicine, RACP said.

“Ideally, we would all like young people and the wider public not to use drugs illicitly, however, the reality is that they do in large numbers and the moral message to abstain from taking drugs is not getting through.

“The evidence to date shows that existing policies in place at festivals to discourage drug taking, including heavy police presence, sniffer dogs and searches, are not effective. These policies are failing our communities and our young people, leading to unnecessary deaths.

“Pill testing within these trials should be conducted in purpose-designed facilities by appropriately qualified technical specialists and should be accompanied by appropriate advice and information to allow festival goers to make informed choices.

“Pill testing is by no means a panacea; it needs to be implemented in conjunction with other evidence-based harm minimisation measures that prioritise the health and safety of festival goers over criminal and legal measures.

“We call on all governments to consult with addiction medicine physicians, public health medicine physicians, clinical pharmacologists and toxicologists and other relevant experts to develop pill testing trials that are carefully designed and evaluated to inform drug policy and minimise harms to young people and the broader community,” Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones said.


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