The Brag Media
News April 30, 2018

Pill testing first at Canberra’s Groovin The Moo a success

Pill testing first at Canberra’s Groovin The Moo a success
Image: Mitch Ferris / Groovin The Moo Facebook

Australia’s first official pill-testing at a music festival, at yesterday’s Groovin’ The Moo in Canberra, has been deemed a success

Dozens of the 20,000 patrons who attended the festival on the grounds of the University of Canberra had gone to the mobile laboratory in one of the health tents by mid-afternoon.

A complaint was there was no signage where the tests were, or indeed, that they were taking place.

Medical professionals analysed the illicit drugs with an infrared spectrophotometer, and told their anonymous owners what was in them.

Eyewitnesses said most discarded their pills after finding out what was really in them.

They were also given options on what to do if they chose not to throw them away.

As promised by the ACT government, they were granted an amnesty, although police had a heavy presence elsewhere on the site.

A media ban on pill testers, the STA-Safe (Safety Testing Advisory Service at Festival and Events) consortium, meant that TMN could not immediately get an official statement or accurate numbers of testers.

Mat Noffs of the Noffs Foundation who helped run the testing tweeted some statistics this morning, revealing that 128 people had used the service and 85 samples were tested, with 2 samples revealed to be “deadly”.

STA-SAFE’s Dr David Caldicott confirmed to Music Feeds that one of the deadly substances was N-Ethylpentylone, which has been linked to mass overdoses, but that the other substance was unable to be identified.

Patrons certainly approved of the last minute compromise struck last Thursday evening to green-light the trial after festival promoter Cattleyard Promotions agreed.

“It’s definitely necessary in this day and age, because people are gonna take it, they need to know what they’re taking is safe, and they then have that decision whether they want to take it or not,” one man told ABC News.

“It won’t make a difference of who’s doing it, it just makes a difference of whether people are gonna die off it,” said another.

“If I was gonna take a pill, yeah I’d probably test it,” one admitted.

Yesterday morning, although the ACT government assured testers they would be safe from police action, some of the legal fraternity remained concerned before the festival opened its doors.

Paul Edmonds, a solicitor at Canberra Criminal Lawyers, told the Canberra Times no legislation had been passed to ensure that participants would not be held criminally liable for drug possession.

Edmonds pointed out liability issues emanating from the possibility of patrons suffering any adverse affects from drug taking after they had taken part in the trial.

He told the Canberra Times, “It depends on what sort of written indemnity form that the pill user signs before they have the pill tested.

“There would obviously be some kind of waiver.”

“However, an issue could arise if the person approaching the pill-testing tent is already under the influence, and would they be able to give informed consent and understand what they are signing up to.”

The Canberra Times also spoke to Adriana Buccianti who has collected almost 40,000 signatures on a petition to introduce testing nationally after her son Daniel at the Rainbow Serpent festival in Victoria in 2012.

“If someone said to him this pill is 100 times stronger than anything you’ve ever taken, he would have said ‘fine’ and thrown it away,” she said.

“He didn’t go there to come out in a body bag, he went there to have fun.”

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