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Pill testing trial will reduce overdoses and save lives

Penington Institute welcomes the announcement by the State Government that it will trial drug checking in Victoria.

Penington Institute CEO John Ryan agreed with Premier Jacinta Allan that drug checking is “a simple and commonsense way to save lives”.

“We applaud the government for acting on the evidence. This is an appropriate harm minimisation approach,’’ Mr Ryan said.

“Drugs from the criminal market are highly unpredictable. They can be manufactured in shoddy labs where makers combine them with other substances, or substitute drugs that are more dangerous. 

“People take these drugs not knowing what they are getting. Analysis of pills and drugs will help people make more informed decisions about whether they still want to take the drug and how to manage the risks.’’

Mr Ryan said drug checking would also provide more opportunities for people to obtain advice from health professionals and peer educators.

He said drug checking services also played an important role in collecting data about drug trends and helping to create public alerts about substances of concern that are in circulation in the community.

“It must be said, though, that while music festivals may attract a higher prevalence of drug use, they are not the only time and place members of the community, and particularly young adults, will consume pills and drugs,’’ Mr Ryan said.

“The current drug control system is no longer fit for purpose and is not protecting the community. Cannabis is the most prevalent illegal drug in the community and legal reform to better manage cannabis is needed.

“It is encouraging that this Government seems open to continually examining the evidence and listening to the advice of experts in the field.’’

Media contact: Warwick Green, / +61 439 647 144 

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