On the weekend, the name of Callum Brosnan was added to the tragic roster of young Australians killed by our politicians and police forces. Brosnan died in hospital after a Sydney dance music festival. His death joins those of two others in September at the Defqon 1 festival. The fault lies with politicians like Gladys Berejiklian and Troy Grant, the NSW police minister, and senior NSW police.
Pill-testing would not have guaranteed that they, or other young people who have died from drug overdoses or poisoning at music festivals around Australia in recent years, would still be alive. But we know it would have markedly increased the chances of that. Instead, the politicians warn of crackdowns, and bans, and increased penalties, and all the rhetoric that has long accompanied the failed, and fatal, prohibitionist approach to drug regulation. We know that under this approach, more young people will die than if pill testing is allowed. But inexplicably, the deliberate decision of politicians and police to take an approach that kills more people is not a major scandal.