Nov 29, 2016

Do pill-testing kits encourage illegal drug use?

With summer music season upon us, the debate around pill testing has been revived. Should drug users be able to tell if they are consuming what they think they are, or does pill testing encourage drug use? Crikey intern Tamsin Rose reports.

Ecstasy pills

Pills, pingas, stingas, disco biscuits and googs are some of the names bouncing around as punters gear up for the festival season. But what goes into these widely, and wildly, consumed drugs, and do users have the right to know?


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8 thoughts on “Do pill-testing kits encourage illegal drug use?

  1. paddy

    Good work Tamsin.
    Somebody should hire this intern.

  2. Petra Raptor

    Harm reduction usually requires abandoning moral judgements.

  3. Teddy

    What happens if a pill is tested by a government-sanctioned pill testing authority and it’s considered “safe” (ie contains no poisonous additives), and a person dies anyway? Is the government responsible for the death?

    I recall an infamous case in Sydney where an ecstasy pill killed a girl because she then drank to much water. It wasn’t the pill’s ingredients that left her parents without their beloved 16 year-old daughter.

    The government is in a devilishly tricky position here. And it wrong to make this a left/right political thing just because the Greens want to make life comfortable for their voters – or most likely – children of their voters.

    But pill testing will make life easier for dealers. They get a pill tested, then offer it as “safe” product to thousands of more party-goers. The State should just give drug dealers a grant.

    And who are those dealers? Bikkie gangs, the murderous thugs presently all over the front pages of the Daily Telegraph, Mexican Cartels…

    Make everything legal. Everything. Its the only place left to go.

    1. Dog's Breakfast

      Of course you’re right Teddy. Only by making them legal would you be able to ensure standards in production etc, but what would the bikies and criminal elements do then?

      1. Teddy

        I’m way pass my pill-popping and (sigh) even party-going days, but I do remember when I was a teen, how “cool” drugs were and how anxious I was to try them.

        The appeal was the danger, that they were “the unknown,” (yes you might die), they were illicit and parents, the government and grumpy old men (like Mike Baird, then not even born) didn’t like them…

        Forty years later capitalism has done its usual thing, and turned a consumer product attractive to the young into a massive multi-billion dollar world-wide industry – with all the profits going to criminals and murderers.

        It’s hard to believe that this cruel inhuman industry is still “cool” – and that certain people are actively encouraging its growth by making the dealers work easier and even more profitable. And that is what the Greens and the pill-testing pushers are doing.

        Legalise everything. Everything. No half-baked nonsense like “medical marijuana, testing, Portugal (where drug selling IS still a crime). Just make the criminals unemployed. They’ll find something else to do…

  4. Khupert the Runt

    I echo Teddy’s point.
    You usually test FOR something. Unless you are able to test for all poisons I can’t see how anyone could rely on a drug testing device or process. Whilst I can understand even from my rudimentary knowledge of chemistry that in many drug processes common poisonous by-products are likely to be the obvious things to test for, it seems to me absurdly naive to assume because such likely contaminants are not present the drug is safe. Let alone assessing in what strength the active ingredient is present. I have no moral concerns about proper drug testing, but if I was a politician or a supplier of drug testing kits I would never endorse them as a means of reducing poisonings, because they just simply can never promise to do the job expected of them.

  5. Dog's Breakfast

    Thanks Mike Baird, more reactionary, bovine policy from him. Probably concerned that somebody, somewhere, is having a good time.

    Re the header, the answer is that nobody knows because nobody has the slightest idea how much drugs are being taken now.

    But suffice to say that it’s a lot, because these huge drug busts that the police so love to make a big deal out of (pun!) don’t have the slightest affect on market availability or price, apparently.

    But I wouldn’t know.

  6. AR

    As noted above, remove the Law. If drugs were legal the manufacturers would be liable for purity – currently, like bathtub gin, anyone with rdimentary chemistry can whip up some nasty crap, sell it and be gone by the time it is being ingested.

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