News January 15, 2019

Pill-testing at festivals in NSW possible by late February

Pill-testing at festivals in NSW possible by late February

The first pill-testing in NSW could take place by the end of next month.

Organisers of Ultra Music Festival Australia have offered their Sydney event at Paramatta Park on February 24.

The festival is expected to draw 20,000 patrons.

The tests will be operated by Pill Testing Australia (which did them at Groovin’The Moo in Canberra last April) and DanceWize NSW/NSW Users and AIDS Association (NUAA).

The NUAA, in operation for 30 years and funded by NSW Health, has been running the DanceWize NSW program since November 2007 to keep dance events safe.

Today the two organisations, along with Ultra Music,  contacted NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian offering to operate a testing pilot at the event.

Mary Ellen Harrod, CEO of NUAA said “DanceWize NSW has interacted with thousands of young partygoers in a short period of time.

“The views of young people are clear – the moment you tell them ‘don’t take that pill kids’, they switch off. They want real-world, practical measures that demonstrate that policymakers put their lives before politics.

“DanceWize NSW have helped hundreds of young people and done thousands of education sessions and saved lives at music festivals across the state.

“Pill testing is an additional measure that can be taken to support the health of young people but will only be effective in the context of peer support and education.

“We encourage the government to act now to take every possible step to reduce harm in the community.”

Today the NSW Coroners Court announced it will conduct a public hearing into the suspected drug overdoses at music festivals.

Acting state coroner magistrate Teresa O’Sullivan will hold a directions hearing on January 22 that is expected to lead to an inquest.

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