Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Drugs Testing Earns Big Tick of Approval

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Drugs Testing Earns Big Tick of Approval

Article excerpt

CAITLAN

CHARLES

caitlan.charles@dailyexaminer.com.au

I'VE been around recreational drug takers for most of my teen and adult life.

That previous sentence needs a caveat to say I've smoked a joint twice in my life (sorry Mum) and it's probably never going to happen again, and that is the extent of my drug use. I'd much rather do a few social tequila shots.

When I heard the news a week ago that those attending the Groovin the Moo music festival could have their drugs tested to determine what they contained, I was ecstatic.

I've been around a few drug trips in my time, and I've seen a few go awry from afar. I think it's time we start doing this.

The majority of people taking drugs are festivals like Groovin are not the big issue. The 20-year-old who takes pills when he goes to four festivals a year is not an addict, they are not the bottom-feeders of society. They are social drug takers. They are not the beginning of the end for youth in Australia.

The decision to test drugs at Groovin is the first time I've seen the right approach adopted to drugs in Australia.

The mentality that everyone taking drugs is an addict or the worst of worst people is the reason why the people who overdose or take tainted drugs end up dying because they don't want to tell the paramedics and doctors what they consumed.

We need to be more open about this kind of thing, or we will continue to hear stories about drug-related deaths at festivals.

Giving people the opportunity to have their drugs tested does two things: have conversations with professionals about their drug taking; and make sure they are taking what they think they are taking.

When you look at the reports of what was found in the pills tested at the festival, you recoil at what these people could have consumed.

Eighty-five substances were tested by the Safety and Testing and Advisory Service and the results included mostly pure ecstasy, cocaine and ketamine but it was the unexpected ingredients they discovered that raise alarm bells. …

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