Growing support for pill testing at Aussie music festivals [report]
A new study found that almost three in five Aussies now support pill testing at festivals.
The 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey was published last week (July 16) by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2020 and found 57% support it and 27% oppose it.
This approval is reflected in the study’s other findings including a call for legalising cannabis doubling from 21% in 2007 to 41%.
Most of the support for pill testing (61%) comes from the 14—39 age group. Only 21% of this demo actively oppose the idea. There is significant support (52%) from people over 40.
Drug use grew in the last three years, in cannabis (10.4% to 11.6%), cocaine (2.5% to 4.2%), ecstasy (2.2% to 3.0%) and ketamine (0.4% to 0.9%).
Illicit drugs use by teens is down compared to 2001, as is smoking and drinking.
It’s a different story with those in their 20s, with cocaine use at its highest level in two decades (specifically growing 1.7 times between 2016 and 2019) and a high level of ecstasy intake.
However, meth and amphetamines use are at their lowest level in the same period.
The increase in cocaine use is notable among men. The proportion of males in their 20s using cocaine in the 12 months before the survey almost doubled, from 7.3% to 14.4%.
The figures on pill testing at festivals come at a time when promoters are working with government and medical authorities to get summer festivals staged by early 2021.
Pill Testing Australia has observed it was more important than ever to test drugs as consumption increased during the coronavirus lockdown.
It posted, “Using drugs isn’t a practice that stops when you close down large social functions like festivals, concerts and nightclubs.
“So, the need for identifying these substances, and providing unbiased accurate information and education is still essential in our community.
“It doesn’t take a genius to recognise strip-searching underage children not only causes long-lasting trauma but in reality does little to stem the harm caused by prohibition￼ and unregulated, black market industry.”
Professor Alison Ritter, a specialist in drug policy from UNSW, previously said that research from Europe showed more publicity given to toxic pills negatively impacted the black market.