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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 5 Hansard (10 May) . . Page.. 1778 ..


Executive members' business—precedence

Ordered that executive members' business be called on.

Drugs—pill testing

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (12.02): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes:

(a) the ACT Greens have been consistently strong advocates for pill testing as a harm minimisation measure and committed to realising a pill testing trial in the ACT in the lead up to the 2016 ACT election;

(b) the wide ranging support for pill testing across the ACT community with more than 1000 signatories to an ACT Greens petition calling for a pill testing trial, and many health and law reform experts, community organisations and musicians signing on to an open letter calling for the trial to go ahead;

(c) on 29 April 2018 the first pill testing trial in Australia took place in Canberra at the Groovin the Moo festival;

(d) the trial involved 128 participants and tested 85 samples;

(e) the testing identified two substances of particular concern that were detected for the first time in the ACT - one was believed to be a novel NBOMe with psycho-stimulant and hallucinogenic properties that can cause convulsions and coma, and the other was n-ethylpentylone, a cathinone implicated in fatalities overseas;

(f) after participating in pill testing and receiving information about the substances contained within their pill as well as receiving advice about the harms of drug use, a number of patrons made an informed choice to discard their pills in the amnesty bins rather than consume them;

(g) none of the people who presented to paramedics for treatment or who were arrested by police for drug offences at the festival are believed to have participated in the pill testing trial;

(h) the pill testing service was able to provide valuable information about substances that may have been circulating at the festival to ACT police and health services to improve drug treatment and detection in real time; and

(i) the trial likely reduced harm at the event by informing young people about the risks of drug taking, increasing interactions with health professionals and reducing the consumption of dangerous substances;

(2) recognises the:

(a) leadership demonstrated by the ACT Government in considering the merits of pill testing as a harm minimisation approach through a robust, evidence-based process informed by the expert advice of a cross-government working group;


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