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Upper House to debate pill testing


The Legislative Council is being urged to put politics aside and focus on the evidence ahead of the pill testing debate this week.

Tomorrow, Independent member for Murchison, Ruth Forrest will bring forth a motion calling on the Legislative Council to acknowledge the evidence supporting pill testing.

Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council Chief Executive, Alison Lai hopes the State Government will listen to another voice for a trial to be explored.

“Problematic illicit drug use is happening in Tasmania and the only reason we haven’t lost someone at a music festival or event is not because of the police, or good behaviour it’s simply been good luck and it’s critical that we do something and that what we do is founded in best-practice evidence and supported by Australia’s leading health and medical professional bodies, which pill testing is."

“We hope that the members of the Tasmanian Legislative Council acknowledge this.”

Regardless of the outcome tomorrow, she says the calls for a trial of pill testing services in Tasmania will continue.

“Last week New Zealand passed legislation to introduce drug analysis services and last month the Forensic and Clinical Toxicology Association of Australia was the most recent, and the 12th national medical/health professional body to join the call for trialling pill testing, alongside the likes of the Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia,” she said.

“We are aware that there are discussions happening in other states including Victoria and Queensland, and it’s highly anticipated that the recommendations from the NSW Coronial Inquiry in the deaths at their festivals last year will call on the NSW Liberal Government to make their festivals safer, and pill testing services are likely to be among the strategies recommended," she said.

Pill Testing Australia will be in Hobart in September. It's hoped the visit will explore how a pill testing trial could be delivered at Tasmanian music festivals and events.

The State Government has ruled out any support for pill testing.