The deaths of three people after overdosing on MDMA at a Melbourne nightclub in January -- and the hospitalisation of 20 at a dance party in February -- focused attention over summer on the wilful refusal of Australian governments to consider allowing pill-testing of recreational drugs, and the death toll it is inflicting on young people. The ACT government has just knocked back a proposal for pill testing at the Groovin The Moo music festival, but it should reconsider. It will save lives.
Victorian Police Commissioner Graham Ashton responded to February's bout of overdoses by insisting pill-testing couldn't work because it took too long. The debate back then wasn't helped by a bizarre contribution in the Fairfax press by a toxicologist Andrew Leibie, who attacked pill-testing as inaccurate and potentially harmful.