Justinian The Great: Pill Testing: What is Ross On?

Ross Fitzgerald had a completely vacuous opinion piece yesterday in The Australian advocating pill testing at music and other festivals where drug use is widespread. I say advocating deliberately because it certainly wasn’t a reasoned argument. Full of platitudes and unsubstantiated opinion it contained not a jot of research, expert opinion, comparable studies, anything that might have evidenced or supported his call for a de-facto decriminalisation of illicit drugs (which he incredibly can’t join the dots on).

In short his argument can be summarised as follows:

  1. Young people will take drugs regardless of legality or risks to their health / life.
  2. Something (even if near useless as he seems to accept) is better than nothing.
  3. And, one day some “progressive” moron Premier will do it anyway, so may as well be now.

For Ross the whole argument is reduced to the trite observation that:

So the question then becomes: is a tested drug safer than an untested drug? Testing does not eliminate all risks but tested drugs will always be safer than untested drugs.

On this logic lets go one step better and have government regulated or supplied drugs that are “safer”still sold instead. After all, it will “save” even more lives than pill testing with the added benefits of wiping out criminal drug cartels and providing a well needed government revenue stream to boot. Drugs could be taxed it in the same way as cigarettes. An entire government owned industry in illicit drugs is going missing on Ross’s thinking. Billions in profits and taxes from a government owned enterprise founded on “saving lives” is going unrealised. How tragic indeed. I volunteer to step up armed with a government grant of course and few ex-pollies on the board of directors (wink wink).

Ross does not believe that making drug taking “safer” won’t lead to riskier behaviour and hence a greater uptake in drug use. I’m not sure what Ross was on when making this dubious statement. I wonder how many rock climbers there would be without ropes and carabiners? How many people would skydive if not for a reserve parachute?

Increasing safety naturally reduces risk, and reducing risk will make fun, but otherwise dangerous activities, more attractive to more and more people. Risk and reward informs decision making. Remove the risk you incentivise the reward.

But does pill testing actually reduce the risk? Here Ross chooses to side with the “expertise” of an activist lawyer from the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation over the expert opinion of a forensic scientist that claims pill testing has “serious flaws” and stating it is not possible “for any equipment to identify all of the hundreds of synthetic cannabinoids, benzodiazepines, amphetamines and opiates used in recreational drugs”.

Had Ross done a scintilla of research (being the emeritus professor he is) he might have consulted a pharmacist or pharmacologist to understand that even prescription drugs can have adverse side effects depending on age, weight, sex, physical condition (e.g. hydration), medical history, can interact with other medications, and be influenced by alcohol, diet and a myriad of other factors.

In other words there is no such thing as universal “safe” dose of any drug much less something cooked up in the backyard of a criminal meth lab. Ross’s position may as well advocate the total deregulation of the PBS and health system. Apparently we do not need medical and pharmacological supervision to self-administer potentially harmful drugs.

Finally we get back to issues of moral, legal and policy issues. Ross believes that pill testing will not de-facto or actually lead to decriminalisation of drugs. This is utter tosh. If it is illegal to manufacture, distribute or be in possession of drugs how can pill testing be anything other than aiding and abetting illicit drug use?

Pill testers will become a vital part of the drug supply chain providing a product endorsement for given suppliers of drugs, boosting their product reputation, brand and hence market share. Far from being separate from drug cartels they will increasingly become legal de-facto marketers / distributors of illegal drugs. This would be a policy for disaster.

Pill testing makes zero sense. Either decriminalise drug use and government own / regulate the supply or enforce the law as it stands. That young people will do stupid things despite all of the warnings and publicly available information is not an excuse to condone illegal and harmful behaviour.

Many young people are already under the illusion that drug taking is safe which is why they are prepared to take the risk in order to receive the chemically induced reward. Pill testing simply promulgates a false perception that illicit drug use can be made safe. That will only encourage even greater drug use causing even greater unnecessary deaths.

We put images of cancer ridden smokers on cigarette packages and have run anti-smoking campaigns for years to dissuade people from smoking. No person under the age of 50 (at least) does not understand the risks of smoking and consequently smoking rates have plummeted.

That said there will always be those who despite the known risks choose to take up the habit. Just because some people make stupid choices doesn’t mean we should enable them and in doing so dilute the most important message of all which is to say no to drugs.

Instead of pill testing why not mandate billboards be erected at every music festival (and other such festivals) documenting all the young people who have died because they thought drugs were safe.

It beggars belief that Ross, being an emeritus professor of politics and history, could produce such vacuous rubbish and be published in The Australian.

For a so called policy expert Ross seems to have succumbed to the virtue signalling standard of academic malaise – anything with trendy good intentions is good enough.

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72 Responses to Justinian The Great: Pill Testing: What is Ross On?

  1. sabena

    Having been involved in a case of apples being contaminated by herbicide,I can tell you that the detection of the elements in a pill(and thus whether it is harmful) will take time.
    You can just imagine the reaction if the patron is told “Come back in 2 weeks and we will tell you whether it is safe”

  2. Iva Right

    This is simply natural selection in operation. The drug addicted and the stupid are culling themselves to enhance the gene pool!

  3. Gerard

    A user has a handful of pills. One is tested and he is told what it contains allowing him to decide whether or not it is ‘safe’. (The tester can’t pass an opinion on this). The fact that one pill has been tested says nothing about the others in his possession. These pills are not manufactured to any standard. So what is the point? Who wears the liability?

  4. What gets me are people pushing all this shit and then on the other hand fully supporting all the Nanny State activities regarding tobacco, alcohol, sugar, fat and any and all legal enjoyment.

  5. struth

    Are these drugs illegal or not?
    If you are in possession of an illegal substance, you are committing an offence.

    Illegal drugs are illegal because they harm people as the authorities tell us.
    Same for firearms.
    Neither actually does until they are used for the wrong reason.

    If I owned a .22 rifle illegally, will the government inspect it for me for cleanliness and a straight barrel and then hand it back to me?
    If shooting up illegal heroin is done in controlled shooting up rooms, then to follow the same logic, there should also be also be shooting ranges set up by government where only illegally owned guns can be fired.

  6. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Even making illicit drugs legal will not make them safe. Drug taking is always going to attract some young people more than others. Why make it culturally approved for the slack and stupid? Give the sensible ones, those who think ‘raves’ are a bore, the opportunity to set the cultural standards; just say no was never a bad idea. Today’s kids need to take more responsibility for their behaviour, not less of it, shrieking for big government to protect and save them from their poor choices; on our dime. No thanks. Widely advertise the dangers and especially highlight the consequences; each and every time it happens.

  7. Cactus

    Pill Testing is pretty idiotic. How is the logistics actually going to work. A long line at a tent, you scrap each of several pills, wait for laboratory results and then get your receipt. What if the scraping is not representative of the pill. What if the other pills are not representative of the first one. What if it takes time to get a result.

    This is all part of an ongoing society march of not taking accountability for yourself. Its always someone elses fault. I find people of this mindset pretty weak individuals.

    By the way – I am supportive of full drug legalisation, regulation and taxation. I see this pill testing thing as just separate and really dumb.

  8. DestroyerD 69

    Make the promoters and sponsors of the events responsible for the outcomes under OHS laws. See how long it takes for the proposition of a mammoth legal or medical bill eating into profits to see a serious process of total intolerance of drugs to take effect.Problem solved. drugs found..Police called, arrests and prosecutions for all involved.

  9. a happy little debunker

    People are not dying from ‘contaminated’ pills – they are dying of overdoses.

    Pill testing does diddley-squat in preventing these deaths. It is a non-solution!

  10. David

    “why not mandate billboards be erected at every music festival documenting all the young people who have died because they thought drugs were safe.”- not a bad suggestion.

    Better still, if there was a way to detect the pills in the first place, ban them from such festivals, but then maybe that is the point of these festivals – to get high on drugs.

  11. stackja

    Is MDMA safe? No! Testing won’t make it safe. It’s a fiction that ‘party’ drugs are harmless.

  12. Dr Fred Lenin

    So if the government tests an illegal pill it is ok to take it ? Is there a fee involved ? Governments dont do things for free any more . Make the promoters responslble ,under union demands employers can be jailed for employees deaths ,apply this rule here .

  13. JB of Sydney/Shanghai

    There IS a way of ending drug addiction, but it might be difficult to under our present legal system….

    China during the 1950s provides one example of successful forced eradication. Having won firm control throughout the country, Mao instituted draconian measures — imprisoning millions of addicts, executing even those merely suspected of being traders.

  14. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    Wow, so much ignorance. Party drugs are generally stimulants, not depressants like heroin.

    Pill testing involves putting some reagents on the scraping to see if it contains said merchandise or other reactants, not a comprehensive lab solution, but it will tell you if the primary constituent is mdma or whether it’s adulterated. Good enough.

    The primary form of pill testing is your upstream or your brave/foolish friends. Buying shit from strangers at events is caveat emptor and indicates a breakdown in the supply chain or bad prep. Nobody other than dealers walk around events with a bunch of pills in their pockets due to sniffer dogs and risk of being searched at the entrances by cops which would get you charged with trafficking.

    Kids see that most party drugs are in fact no worse than alcohol and so cotton on to the fact that government lies.

    War on drugs has been an abject failure, maybe time to think about legalising. Pill testing is good idea, should be able to buy kits from chemists and avoid the queues.

  15. thefrollickingmole

    You could make the people putting on the festivals responsible legally for the deaths or injuries.

    Best of all would be to legalize 3 or so common drugs and be positively Singaporian about the others.

  16. Buccaneer

    If pill testing is such a good idea, why don’t drug dealers offer it already? Why does the government need to offer, legalise it? Why don’t the festival organisers do it? Why doesn’t the government automatically shut down music festivals where a person dies from illegal drugs and charge the organisers for failing to provide a safe environment for patrons. They would be sued if there was an OHS issue that led to injury or death.

  17. John Barr

    Pill Testing won’t do anything but encourage traffickers.

    I believe my system, harsh, though it maybe, would be a better answer. Advertize that the Festival will have no Drug Policing, No Medical Staff at the Venue, No Emergency Services inside the Venue. The cost of any Emergency Services, Policing & Hospitalization will be borne completely by the person who has overdosed. There will be no Government or Insurance Rebate. People that have overdosed are completely on their own. The Venues Organizers are to be immune from Prosecution.

    Have this advertised before the event takes place. At the Entrance & throughout the Venus & On the Big Screen after every song played on the Stage so their is no excuse of anybody not knowing the Rules.

  18. candy

    Ban the festivals which are magnet to drug dealers. There’s too many stupid kids who do stupid things. It would be a relief to the parents.
    Give the parents a break from having to worry their kid will be the next.

  19. dopey

    Perhaps it’s the ‘music’ that kills them, not the pills.

  20. Old School Conservative

    Some years ago, employers were responsible for the safety of their employees on their way to and from work.
    If an employee stopped regularly (e.g. tennis on Wednesdays, shopping on Fridays) the employer was responsible for the safe travel to those activities.
    Any accidents would see workers compensation paid to the employee.

    So why aren’t festival organisers responsible for deaths at their concerts?
    Hypocritical laws.

  21. struth

    So why aren’t festival organisers responsible for deaths at their concerts?
    Hypocritical laws.

    I was just thinking about chain of responsibility laws in transport.

    Good god, if this “music event” was a best rig competition, a show and shine, and they found drugs like these on people,they’d be arresting people up and down dale and the promoters and organisers would be in jail.
    There would not be one held next year for sure.

    But these music festivals are highly political and left wing, from the lyrics of the rap artists, to the promotion of deviancy and mental decline, it’s JJJ inspired bullshit and because of it, like unions, they remain untouched.

  22. Leo G

    So the question then becomes: is a tested drug safer than an untested drug? Testing does not eliminate all risks but tested drugs will always be safer than untested drugs.

    An unsafe drug isn’t made safer by testing.
    A more relevant question might be: Accepting that (some) young people will take drugs regardless of legality or risk, how will a testing program reduce risks for those young people who are unlikely directly to take advantage of testing?
    Another relevant question might be: for those people who would be more likely to take illicit drugs if they believed they were safer, wouldn’t the testing program promote increased illicit drug use?

  23. JB of Sydney/Shanghai

    I drink a fair amount of cheap whisky, and quite often it gives me a serious hangover.

    Clearly this is due to the distillers adding toxic adulterants of some sort to the brew.

    I demand Gladys station a crew of Lab Technicians and their equipment outside every Dan Murphy’s in NSW

    Only then, can we Bogans drink safely.

    Thank you in advance, Nanny State.

  24. Tel

    Ross does not believe that making drug taking “safer” won’t lead to riskier behaviour and hence a greater uptake in drug use.

    Suppose somehow we knew in advance that the scenario would simultaneously result in fewer deaths and greater drug use… would that be a trade off you are OK with?

  25. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    So why aren’t festival organisers responsible for deaths at their concerts?

    maybe because patrons are not employees, what next? hoteliers responsible for guest overdose too?

  26. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    You speaking from fond memories, Zippy, or are you still going to raves?
    We can see for sure you were once a really cool kid, know the ropes, tell it like it is.
    Kids are told by some left-over old lags that party drugs are no worse than alcohol.
    Many fall for it too, being young and stupid. Some die for it.
    Alcohol takes forty years of abuse to kill you, and it’s easy to control your intake.
    It’s already legal once you’re 18 too. A much better drug all round.

  27. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    People forget the war on alcohol was lost too, and we can enjoy a drink today without too much fear of it being adulterate with methanol or other noxious substances, except maybe for the fake beer in china.

  28. Dr Fred Lenin

    Wonder what the penalties are in China for addicts and dealers ? A $500 fine and good behavior bond suspended for 43 years ? Or something more severe ? Another question ,how many drug addicts and drug dealers are there in China? As many as in Australia?

  29. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Hoteliers are constrained by the Responsible Service of Alcohol laws.
    What people drink in private is up to them.
    Way to go.

  30. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    There always was, and still is, a lot of cultural constraint on alcohol usage.
    Alcohol has been part of human culture for five thousand years and counting.
    Alcohol exists in many forms and known dosages and has a food value as well (e.g. beer).

    Prohibition of alcohol in the US reached into a mosaic of cultural forms right throughout society. There clearly was a place for moderate alcohol usage socially, economically and morally. The 1920’s released many cultural constraints after a disastrous period of world warfare on an unprecedented scale. Alcohol was widely abused (see Gatsby for a sampling of how) and, as with the previous Temperance movements of the C19th, also a period of tremendous social change, the pendulum swung into total prohibition, beyond what the overall society would accept. Various cultural and legal controls were brought in to reduce alcohol’s impact once it was legal again. To parallel the culture of rave concerts with this overall situation regarding alcohol is specious. The drug/s are different, the effects can be immediately catastrophic physically, the long term effects are mind-rotting (a parallel with alcohol might be absinthe), and the social integration is limited to a concert culture of the under 20’s. Not the same thing.

  31. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)
    #2909074, posted on January 16, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    So why aren’t festival organisers responsible for deaths at their concerts?

    maybe because patrons are not employees, what next? hoteliers responsible for guest overdose too?

    Clearly you’re not aware that hoteliers (and bar staff) are fully responsible for patrons’ drinking habits; so if they were aware of drug taking in their establishment then yes, they most likely would be responsible.

  32. Tim Neilson

    maybe because patrons are not employees, what next? hoteliers responsible for guest overdose too?

    Aren’t night clubs held responsible for drugs being sold on their premises? (I don’t mean convicted as dealers, but possibly losing their licence.)

    Why don’t these festivals get treated the same way?

  33. struth

    Why don’t these festivals get treated the same way?

    But these music festivals are highly political and left wing, from the lyrics of the rap artists, to the promotion of deviancy and mental decline, it’s JJJ inspired bullshit and because of it, like unions, they remain untouched

  34. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    You speaking from fond memories, Zippy, or are you still going to raves?

    party life stopped with my firstborn. Pretty much everyone I knew from that period moved on as well.

    Kids are told by some left-over old lags that party drugs are no worse than alcohol.
    Many fall for it too, being young and stupid. Some die for it.

    Nobody tells kids drugs are safe. Kids know there are risks, but there are risks from just driving around.
    and by kids we are talking late teens and tweenies.

    This whole pill testing debate was had in the 90s and pops up everytime there is an issue and the government cracks down to be seeing to be doing something.

    These festivals have grown to be big business, Coachella sports 100,000+ attendees @ USD400-900 a ticket.

  35. Nob

    Pill testing will do SFA except provide some jobs for pill testers.

    Most people will not use it, except those who are aware that’s it’s now a left Vs right issue and they wish to demonstrate their good leftiness.

  36. There is a distinct tendancy in this age for serious discussion and debate to revolve around emotions. Might this have anything to do with the fact that for the last three decades the State Indoctrination Dept. has been convincing people to “feel” rather than “think”?
    If one sticks to facts, responsibility, accountability, and consequences, the following should be apparent.
    a) Do we wish to live in a society in which a large faction is stoned?
    b) Is the State anxious to accept the responsibility for the ultimate failure of a drug test leading to a fatality?
    c) Is it proper for the State to actively encourage people to ignore the law?
    d) If recreational drugs were acceptable, how many overdose fatalities is acceptable?
    e) If our indoctrination system were instead to educate people regarding the tenets of Western Civilisation such as Freedom of Thought, Speech, Religion, Assembly, etc. as well as the necessary responsibility and accountability that accompanies these Freedoms, would people still risk death for an artificial “high”?

  37. Rod W

    As a contributor at Michael Smith’s site has suggested:
    Why not also teach kids how to safely use their mobiles while they are driving?

  38. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    Various cultural and legal controls were brought in to reduce alcohol’s impact once it was legal again. To parallel the culture of rave concerts with this overall situation regarding alcohol is specious. The drug/s are different, the effects can be immediately catastrophic physically, the long term effects are mind-rotting (a parallel with alcohol might be absinthe), and the social integration is limited to a concert culture of the under 20’s. Not the same thing.

    My dad was a great man, when he was sober, but being an alcoholic he made our lives a frequent misery. Even after I moved out of home, I dreaded the 3am phone call from my mum asking me to come over as dad was drunk and abusive. In the end it killed him.

    Please don’t lecture me on how harmless alcohol is.

  39. Jannie

    The most dangerous thing about these drugs is that they are illegal, and the laws invented to control perfectly honest people. The stupid nannies who try to control other peoples behaviour are the killers. They kill their own mostly. Big Government Nanny Killers. The Nannies should be put in prison.

  40. Tel

    Another question ,how many drug addicts and drug dealers are there in China? As many as in Australia?

    Lots of dealers in China, mostly in the business of postal deliveries to wealthy Western nations.

    The Emperor said he would stop that, but recently they just started selling the unbuilt kits to Mexicans who do the final mixdown and delivery. Creates ambiguity, dunno who to blame now.

  41. Tel

    a) Do we wish to live in a society in which a large faction is stoned?

    I suggest you go back and take a good look at the offered political candidates on both sides of politics, here, and in the USA, and in the UK. Now take a deep breath and think about whether you really wanna ask that question.

  42. Tel

    maybe because patrons are not employees, what next? hoteliers responsible for guest overdose too?

    Personally I think that council workers patching up some holes in the road should be held responsible for bad driving.

    Seriously though, I see some appallingly bad intersection designs. Every single intersection should be fitted with a brass plaque containing the name and mobile phone number of whoever designed and built the thing.

  43. Tel

    If pill testing is such a good idea, why don’t drug dealers offer it already?

    Because the War on Drugs has resulted in a situation where vendors do not succeed in business by delivering a better product. The primary skills of a drug dealer are:
    [1] dodging the cops.
    [2] paying off the cops now and then in order to assist with #1
    [3] dodging the competition.
    [4] killing off the competition if they don’t dodge quick enough.

    NONE OF THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN.

  44. JB of Sydney/Shanghai

    China sentences Canadian to death for drug smuggling
    Steven Jiang
    By Steven Jiang, CNN

    Updated 1047 GMT (1847 HKT) January 15, 2019
    in China which sentenced Canadian to death for drug smuggling earlier today
    Play Video

    China sentences Canadian to death for drug smuggling 02:11
    Beijing (CNN)A Canadian citizen in China has been sentenced to death after a court convicted him of drug smuggling on Monday, a move likely to further inflame tensions between Ottawa and Beijing.

    The Dalian Intermediate People’s Court in northeastern China said Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was given a death sentence based on the nature and severity of his crime and in accordance with the Chinese criminal code.
    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized the ruling, which comes as relations have strained between the two countries following the arrest of a senior executive from the Chinese tech firm Huawei in Vancouver last month.

  45. Buccaneer

    Tel, surely if there are enough drug dealers that are smart enough to pay off cops, dodge or kill the competition, they’re also smart enough to realise that a dead patron won’t buy more drugs. Sadly, we have some unscrupulous politicians who will use a tragic circumstance to blame their opponents for the problem instead of blaming the cockroaches who peddle the poison and those encouraging a culture that accepts recreational drugs as harmless.

  46. Eyrie

    TV/internet ads. Music festival. Kid takes illicit pills, fits and drops dead. Voiceover and large print on screen: ARE YOU A CANDIDATE FOR THE DARWIN AWARDS? THINK OF IT AS EVOLUTION IN ACTION.

  47. Tel

    Tel, surely if there are enough drug dealers that are smart enough to pay off cops, dodge or kill the competition, they’re also smart enough to realise that a dead patron won’t buy more drugs.

    Statistically yes … but if your plan is to run a high profit business for several years and then vanish without a trace into retirement, you put your resources into the highers priority issues first. Getting popped by another dealer and you lose the entire business plus your retirement, while losing a customer means you need to find a new customer (which is a cost, but not as big).

  48. Radman

    Let’s be clear here. The dangers of illicit drugs are so well known and publicised that the average early primary schooler is likely aware of them. If people will insist on using these substances in the full knowledge of their potentially harmful or fatal side effects, I’m all for letting Darwinian selection do it’s job.

  49. Buccaneer

    Tel, callous but true, With such an unethical business model you’d think the sjw crowd would be all over it, at least demanding that wealthy drug dealers pay their share of tax. Adam Brandt seems to care more about the welfare of live export stock than preventing deaths from illegal drugs.

  50. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    Because the War on Drugs has resulted in a situation where vendors do not succeed in business by delivering a better product.

    not so. had a look at the some recent stats on mdma and deaths are up mainly to the fact quality of supply is way up. Whereas your typical pill was 20-50mg back in the 90s, you can now readily get 100mg and some super pills top 275mg. The main causes of death from these are overheating or drinking too much water.

    Opioids are the main cause of drug deaths in general and chinese fentanyl specifically, these are not party drugs.

    Interestingly it’s mostly middle age men most likely to overdose much more so than kids at parties.

  51. Gerry

    taking Pills supplied by a stranger, getting “shitfaced” in the midst of thousand of strangers and with all your mates using drugs as well is crazy …..pill testing might tell you what sort of high you are going to get that’s all, there’s no way to tell what other crap is in the pill and it won’t identify a lot of the drugs used – worse still, some people will think they are safe because the pill has been tested ….

  52. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    taking Pills supplied by a stranger, getting “shitfaced” in the midst of thousand of strangers and with all your mates using drugs as well is crazy

    one does not get shitfaced from mdma. one gets shitfaced from alcohol.

    the scientific description for the high are energy, euphoria and empathy. It’s more like every positive feeling you have ever had rammed through a turbocharger. The energy and vibe at a large party is impossible to describe.

    the DJ is God.

  53. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    main stage at tomorrowland, worlds largest festival with total attendance last year of 400,000!!

    there were two deaths at tommorowland last year both from drinking too much water,not an unusual problem given the heat generated.

  54. Amadeus

    Oh, what the heck. If we go down the path of pill testing harmful drugs taken for recreation by morons, well we may as well go the full nanny state and educate people how to drive and text safely. Oh and then why don’t we show young people how to race and burn-outs with their cars on public roads safely….
    I could go on, but the banal solutions seem to be going from the ridiculous to the point of utter stupidity. Where will this insanity end. Boy do we have a lot of loose screws running around as public administrators and politicians.

  55. John NOBEL

    Prohibition has provided a market opportunity.
    And so bad stuff gets through.
    Fortunes are made.
    Perhaps even a wall build.
    It would make more sense to have drugs treated like alcohol and tobacco.
    Switzerland, Scandinavia and Netherlands come to mind …

  56. The Fifth Bike Rider of the Apocalypse

    There’s a very simple solution to this.
    Don’t do drugs.
    If you do and you kill yourself, c’est la vie or as a fat lady once said, ‘Accidents happen’.

  57. bollux

    There have been over 40 deaths from drowning this summer so far. I think there should be water testing at every venue and beach. The Gummint should pay.

  58. Tim Neilson

    The most dangerous thing about these drugs is that they are illegal,

    Tell that to the parents of someone who has been bashed to death or turned into a vegetable by someone on ice.
    I know violence and alcohol often co-exist but the proportion of alcohol users who bash people is minuscule, and the unprovoked king hitting from behind of total strangers seems to be predominantly an ice thing.

  59. Mel

    I completely agree with this. The honest debate is about criminalisation and decriminalisation. Pill testing is de facto decriminalisation. Do Australians want these drugs decriminalised? I’d be willing to wager no.

  60. J.H.

    “Pill Testing” is a farcical way of trying to “prevent drug deaths”, for the simple fact that it is the actual Drug that causes death and not the impurities.

    The reason people die at a Music Festival after taking MDMA is because the drug interferes with the brain’s chemistry causing some autonomous functions go haywire or shutdown, which kills them. The impurities are almost harmless in comparison with the actual drug.

  61. EvilElvis

    Make the promoters and sponsors of the events responsible for the outcomes under OHS laws.

    No. Just pay the cops to sit a few sniffer dogs and drug squad guys at the gates. People are expected to pay for event security nowadays, so why not this?

  62. stackja

    Decriminalized drugs would be subject to excise? So would legal drugs become more expensive? Incentive for more illegal?

  63. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Please don’t lecture me on how harmless alcohol is.

    In terms of family, Zippy, I know that. Been there with some of mine, seen that harm. Illicit drugs too.
    BUT – my family is not representative of the society at large, and alcohol in society in general is a far less harmful drug than ice, for example, as suggested in the points people have made above. As for the agony and the ecstasy stuff of MDMA, humans since the days of the Neolithic chamber tombs have wanted to get their tits off on ecstatic energies. There are many ways to achieve these energies, a very varied range of drugs only being one of these ways. All religions know this, and most, for survival, end up curtailing the ecstasies to priests and saints. Perhaps that’s where you belong? Cults, of course, trade on these feelings and assist them. 🙂

    Just reading Bernard Cornwell on Dark Ages warrior culture and ecstatic battle energies: the human mind is a very malleable thing, culturally, before we even move to drugs. Drugs help gain the visions, the emotional highs, and warriors are fond of stimulants (always have been) but these are dangerous things to have running amok in a settled-down familial world with modern toys like cars and guns. You son or mine, Zippy? I don’t want my warrior husband or son brought home on his drug-addled shield.

    The days of battle fury haunt us still. Homer knew the power of it.

    Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans.

    Bad enough without the uppers added for enhancement of such testosterone-fueled rage. And then recourse to the calming albeit killing downers, the Soma ones, like MDMA. Libertarian paradise? I think not.

    Legalisation of further dangerous mind-benders? Just not worth it.
    The most precious thing we have is our free will. Freedom to think, undrugged.

  64. Winston

    I’m amazed of the amount of people like Ross who grandstand about governments not using my tax money to verify an illegal drug pusher’s product – as if that’s a bad thing – when silly old me thinks the real issue to be pissed off about is magistrates not giving a custodial sentence for people trying to smuggle in and supply 100s of the said pill.

  65. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Read Huxley’s vision of the terrifying dystopia of Soma here.

  66. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Oh, and treat the links in my link above with caution. I use it only to show Huxley’s satire.
    They are dated and proselytize more than being neutral re drug use.

  67. Peter Smith

    Ross is a pragmatic libertarian who understands that their are limits to what the State can control. He also understands that risk management is about reducing risk and that the combination of pill testing linked to providing information and advice has been shown to reduce the death rate from the use of party drugs and that therefore trialing pill testing linked to providing information and advice makes good sense.

    Of course for those who want to maximise state control harm minimisation is an anathema

  68. Enterprising Elector

    How about every time someone is arrested at a music festival or someone dies, the organisers get the bill for the costs of the police and ambulance services. It’s only fair now that Messrs. Farage and Southern have to pay for policing costs when unrelated third parties commit acts of violence outside their speaking venues.

  69. Speedbox

    The impurities are almost harmless in comparison with the actual drug.

    Hmmm, not so sure about that. Carfentanil is a fentanyl like substance and is responsible for numerous deaths in heroin users. The lethal dose is believed to be about 20 micrograms – not 20 grams, but micrograms (there are 1,000,000 micrograms in a gram). So, an almost infinitesimally small impurity will kill you.

    For reasons unknown, carfentanil has recently been found mixed with ecstasy. Accident? Design? Who knows, but let’s be clear about one thing – there is no safe level of illicitly manufactured drugs because the sometimes minute additives, usually mixed haphazardly within the primary compounds (which are dangerous anyway), can result in terrible organ/brain damage or are outright lethal.

    And by the way, most additives are impossible to ‘test’ for in the context suggested by those advocating ‘testing stations’ at music festivals and similar. It is such a stupid impractical idea its laughable.

    (In the past decade, almost 800 new synthetic psychoactive substances have been identified using high resolution mass spectrometry. There are believed to be hundreds currently undetected/analysed and illicit drug manufacturers continue to create more.)

  70. yarpos

    why does this group of risk takers justify taxpayer funded intervention and counselling vs all the other. Are the government minders going to swoop on rock fisherman, skydivers and motorcycle racers? check there equipment and practices and counsel them on safety? or have they got to do something illegal to attract such benefits? The logic of it all escapes me.

  71. RCon

    OMFG

    What has happened to this blog? The level of ignorance is matched only by the desire to interfere with the choices of others. Most of you sound like Bolt on a bad day. GTF out of my life and my choices.

    Pill testing is designed to detect impurities that are known to cause significant issues.

    Yes, “pure” “recreational” drugs can still cause issue, and yes dosage is certainly an issue. However improving the outlook for individuals making individual choices on one of three elements, and with ATS likely the most important element, it is a worthwhile exercise.

  72. Tel

    why does this group of risk takers justify taxpayer funded intervention and counselling vs all the other.

    It doesn’t deserve taxpayer funding, but a private charity offering a testing service would be illegal… for no good reason.

    Are the government minders going to swoop on rock fisherman, skydivers and motorcycle racers? check there equipment and practices and counsel them on safety?

    But at least they are not specifically blocked from having equipment tested. Yes, risky activities are risky and some individuals pay the price, but you don’t have the right to make anyone else’s life more dangerous by taking away their options. Simply by interfering less, the government achieves more!

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