Vic Premier Backs Baird, Condemns Pill Testing; Greens Call For Drug Policy Overhaul

4 March 2016 | 10:15 am | Staff Writer

The debate continues.

Just days after NSW Premier Mike Baird slammed a proposal made by Stereosonic organisers to conduct a pilot pill testing program at their events, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has backed Baird and opposed the idea, while the ACT Greens have thrown their support behind the pilot program and have suggested that major changes need to be made to Australia's drug policy.

According to 9 News, Andrews dismissed pill testing after a number of experts who met in Canberra this week issued a declaration arguing that drug checking could reduce risk.

However, Andrews said that any MP's who supported the idea "were frankly a long way from some of the realities our government deals with every single day".

"I don't support that (trials)," Andrews told reporters yesterday. 

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"You want to talk about normalising (drugs) - I think that goes a long way towards it."

Andrews insisted that an increased effort needs to be made into who is supplying the drugs in the first place.

"What we have to do is make sure those that are manufacturing get what they deserve, and those who are selling, equally, are treated with the full force of the law," he said.

"Then we have to make sure every young person, every Victorian, knows and understands this stuff kills."

In contrast, Greens MLA and Corrections Minister Shane Rattenbury has called for a complete overhaul of the country's drug policy, which he believes is failing. 

As Canberra Times reports, Rattenbury said, "Regardless of your position on the issue the truth is quite a number of Australians take drugs and that number is increasing."

Rattenbury not only encouraged Stereosonic's pilot pill testing program, but backed the declaration issued in Canberra, which calls for a change in police and law enforcement strategies, more supervised injecting facilities and for police strategies that may be considered harmful, such as sniffer dogs, to be wiped out. 

"While the majority of the funding is spent on law enforcement, only about two per cent of the $1.7 billion Australia is pouring into tackling drugs is going to harm reduction efforts," he said.

"Our focus is all back to front."