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    Posted on 2 Mar 2016

    Everything You Need To Know About Pill Testing Explained With "Simpsons" Quotes

    "Won't somebody please think of the children!"

    Sometimes, taking drugs can be really fucked.

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    I know, sometimes it can be fun, too. But often times, people don't know exactly what they're taking - including ingredients and dosages. It's not exactly like tabs or pills come with dietary information engraved on the back of them.

    Over the last couple of years, a number of people have died as a result of taking chemical drugs, like MDMA, that aren't made up of everything they might've thought.

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    Because of this, there's been calls from the public, as well as medical experts and former police officers, to do something about it and introduce a system that has seen success across the globe: pill testing.

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    Pill testing is something used in multiple countries across Europe. The Dutch introduced pill testing way back in 1993, and Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Spain and France also have similarly succesful programs.

    Pill testing would see laboratory-grade equipment supplied to volunteers, who would set up outside music festivals and other events where drug taking is likely to occur.

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    Those entering the event with drugs would be able to get their drugs tested. After a process that takes about 20 minutes, they could find out what's in their pill, with a scientific analysis available.

    However, there's two very different schools of thought around it.

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    The NSW government has been staunchly against pill testing from the get-go, insisting that the safest way to avoid overdosing on drugs is to not take drugs at all.

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    NSW Premier Mike Baird said in February the idea of pill testing was a "ridiculous proposal."

    "There is a very safe way to go about pills and that is don't take them," he said.

    "We're not going to be condoning in any way what illegal drug dealers are doing and that's what this is about so we're certainly not supporting it.. it won't be happening and obviously anyone who proposes otherwise, that is a matter for them, but it won't be happening here in New South Wales."

    President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, Alex Wodak, has a different view.

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    "The number of these deaths seems to be increasing, the number of the presentations to emergency departments of people attending these events is increasing, and it doesn't have to be like this," said Wodak in an interview with the ABC.

    "What we want to do is reduce death, reduce severe illness and we want to do that as cost-effectively as possible...The bigger the event the better. The more the event is associated already with drug use, the better from our perspective, we want to see whether what we're doing works or doesn't work."

    One of the nations largest music festivals, Stereosonic, announced its support of pill testing yesterday.

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    "In principle, pill testing would have our full support as long as all the key stakeholders sanctioned the initiative to ensure its effectiveness," a spokesperson said in a statement to Fairfax Media.

    And the Greens leader, RIchard Di Natale, has also backed the movement.

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    "We've got young people overdosing and dying, because they're taking substances of unknown quality and purity and the consequence is we're losing people. Why wouldn't we put in place a measure that prevents those young people from ingesting potentially harmful substances, and keeps them safe?" he said at an event in Melbourne last month.

    But it's done little to change the attitude of the NSW government.

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    In fact, NSW Police Minister and Deputy Premier Troy Grant went so far as to say that anyone testing people's pills could end up being charged with manslaughter.

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    "If these [tested] pills go wrong and kill someone," he said, "they may well be vulnerable to manslaughter charges."

    Grant was also slammed earlier this year for making claims about pill testing that the ABC's Four Corners later revealed to be false.

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    Grant told Four Corners he based a lot of his information on a Netherlands-based study on the ineffectiveness of pill testing, however further investigation proved that the Netherlands doesn't even have a pill-testing system.

    Now, there's a high probability NSW will find itself with a group of guerrilla pill testers, roaming music events around Australia in an effort to make drug taking safer.

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    And despite all the warnings from the state government, kids are still taking drugs.

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    In 2014, Australia topped the UN's global list for recreational drug use.

    Really, all we can do is wait.

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