Drug experts in Australia are about to embark on a new study that is highly likely to catch heat from government officials in New South Wales (NSW). They aim to address the issue of whether or not having drug testing kits at music festivals can be a positive factor. As NSW officials recently condemned the notion, conducting the study could very well land many of the toxicologists and supporters in jail.
Spearheaded by Dr. Alex Wodak, a number of doctors and toxicologists will be setting up a van outside a music festival. Inside the van will be a laboratory grade drug testing facility, available to any patron who wishes to learn more about the drugs they may have in their possession. With experts expecting the government to crack down on this study, they are planning to have a large number of supporters surrounding the van, willing to get arrested if the authorities make their move.
Will Tregoning, founder of the drug reform agency Unharms, revealed his plans and the possibility of arrests to the Sydney Morning Herald.
"We absolutely have to create that sense of trust around the service.
"One way we will be doing that is by ensuring there are very many supporters of the service present to essentially created a buffer from police activity for consumers accessing the service."
Deputy Premier Troy Grant expressed his opposition to the new study, calling it a "very dangerous regime that the NSW government fundamentally rejects".
Grant, speaking with 2UE radio, even went so far as to say, "[I]f these pills go wrong and kill someone they may well be vulnerable to manslaughter charges."
Drug related deaths have increased in Australia recently and the general public are mostly supportive of the fact that having drug testing kits can reduce the risk of taking drugs that might be bunk. Funding for the new study is currently underway, even with the government's negative stance.
Tregoning realizes that having the government not be willing to support this new project is a serious problem. “As long as government continues to stand in the way of this service they are making it more likely that people will die."