“Stop playing politics with young Tasmanian lives”: Dark Mofo supports pill-testing in Tasmanian festivals
Tasmania’s innovative Dark Mofo festival has joined the debate about pill-testing at music festivals in the island state.
As reported in TMN, Greens MP Rosalie Woodruff tabled the Misuse of Drugs Amendment (Drug Analysis) Bill 2018 last Thursday to provide legal protections for services offering pill testing.
The lack of a legal framework is what is causing delays in continued tests in music events in the ACT.
Tasmanian festivals should be able to offer legal pill testing in order to save lives, says Dark Mofo creative director Leigh Carmichael.
“We urge all political parties to stop playing politics with young Tasmanian lives,” he said.
“Everyone wants to see a reduction in the use of illegal drugs.
“We know drug use happens, particularly in environments like music festivals, so we must do what we can to reduce the risk of harm or death.
“We do not condone or seek to normalise illicit drug use, and we don’t wish to undermine the important work of Tasmania Police.
“Whether it’s through legislation, or in a pilot trial like the ACT government supported earlier this year, pill testing is a harm minimisation approach that must be adopted urgently.
“We have a duty of care to our audience, and saving lives is more important than any political game around this issue.”
Dr Rosalie Woodruff told the media: “We are building on the experience and evidence from countries around the world to introduce a safe, legal framework for drug analysis in Tasmania.
“We just understand this is about keeping Tasmanians safer.
“Really, when it comes down to it, wouldn’t we want to do everything we can to make sure that people aren’t putting dangerous, life-threatening things into their bodies?”
As to be expected, her move split the community.
The Australian Lawyers Alliance, for instance, supported her. “The government has a responsibility to ensure that these festivals are safe,” said barrister Greg Barns.
The Police Association of Tasmania pointed out that taking drugs was against the law and allowing trials at festivals sent out the wrong message.
“Harm minimisation is one thing and there is a lot being done in that space regarding education and media,” said acting president Gavin Cashion.