The Queensland government has announced today it will allow pill testing services for the first time. The move comes amid a government commitment to “reduce risks and harms associated with illicit drug use”.
According to a press release today, the government is currently developing protocols around how the testing sites will operate, and will draw on the experiences of pill testing in the ACT. The government will also find a provider to trial pill testing at fixed and mobile locations. Police powers related to drug offences will remain the same.
“Pill testing is all about harm minimisation; we don’t want people ending up in our emergency departments or worse losing their life… It is important to note that pill testing services do not promote that drugs are safe, however they are among a suite of options that can positively affect outcomes regarding illicit drug use.” Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath
Arguments against pill testing
A blog entry prepared by the Australian Parliamentary Library as a resource to politicians outlined some of the cons to pill testing in 2018. It said one of the main arguments against pill testing is that: “By permitting on-site pill testing, contradictory messages are being sent about the risks related to the use and possession of [illicit drugs].” It also said that on-site drug testing is not always accurate.