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Dr Alex Wodak is challenging the staus quo - Pill testing

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The NSW Government and the police are a bunch of old conservative pricks and bullies. Shows the culture of NSW Police force has not changed since the 60's and loves the power over so called druggies.


At least Dr Alex Wodak is challenging the staus quo..




President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, Dr Alex Wodak, has joined forces with emergency medical specialist David Caldicott in announcing a privately funded drug testing "trial" will commence with or without the blessing of a government that has repeatedly blocked the proposal in favour of a hard line, law enforcement strategy.

Despite its strict opposition to pill testing at festivals, Fairfax Media can also reveal that the NSW government has sought a secret briefing on how such a concept might occur, receiving a detailed,18-page research dossier.


"We are going to do this," said Dr Wodak. "Doctors, analysts who know how to operate the [testing] machines and peer interviewers who can translate the scientific results and explain to people why the drug they bought is talcum powder or highly toxic. The idea is to save lives. I am prepared to break the law to save young people's lives."

Dr Caldicott said: "It's very straight forward. We want to run a trial at a place where everyone is using drugs anyway. "It's time for our politicians and elected representatives to catch up with what the majority of parents want for their children, which is for them to return home safe."

The founder of drug law reform agency Unharm, Will Tregoning, confirmed his discussion paper was forwarded "by request" to the NSW Premier's Department, on February 17.

"It looks at why we should do drug testing, how services operate internationally, the evidence of the effects of those services and it explains the legal context of the operation of a service in NSW. It essentially outlines that without any legislative change we could introduce a pilot service right now."


NSW Premier Mike Baird has refused to be drawn on whether or not he supports the notion of pill testing but the revelation that his own department reached out for policy advice is a clear indication the government is grappling with the dilemma of the life or death issue.

Until now, he has deflected the issue to his Police Minister, Troy Grant, who remains adamant that the government's strict policing policy, featuring drug sniffer dogs, will not sway under his watch.

In an opinion piece he wrote for Fairfax Media on Friday, he said: "The recent deaths of seven young people, mostly at music festivals, in NSW and interstate are a tragedy. I have no firm evidence before me that pill testing will save a life. "This government will not fund a scheme."

Unless there is a drastic about-turn in policing policy, a showdown now appears inevitable with a NSW police spokesman stating on Saturday: "We will continue to enforce the law at music festivals."

Dr Wodak is no stranger to controversy. In November 1986, he and a team of colleagues introduced the first needle syringe program. In 1999, he initiated Australia's first medically supervised injecting centre amid a heroin epidemic that had claimed more than a thousand lives that year. The then NSW Premier Bob Carr, who sanctioned the project after originally opposing it, has since described it as being among his proudest career achievements.

Mr Wodak said he was now about to step outside of the square again. "I think Troy Grant's comments have made it clear that the government has shut the door on the possibility that pill testing could even be trialled," he said.

"Deaths are recurring at an increasing rate. Although it is clear that the current strategy, largely reliant on sniffer dogs, does not work in terms of reducing drug use or harm....there is zero willingness by the police minister to even contemplate options. How can this be?"

Dr Wodak confirmed the pill testing trial would be launched without costing taxpayers a cent. While acknowledging the program needs the permission and support of dance party organisers, he said there were already "a number" of events being eyed.

"We would have done the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras next weekend if there had been more time to set it up," he said, adding: "Stereosonic would be a suitable one. Splendour in the Grass would be another. We want to do a big one. We want to do several big ones.

When asked what he thought the reaction of Premier Baird would be, he said: "I've got a lot of faith in Mike Baird. He's a real human being. He has showed he has compassion."

On Saturday, Premier Baird's office again forwarded enquiries onto Minister Grant who reaffirmed that the government "does not support pill testing" because the drugs are "illegal and inherently dangerous."

He added: "We are working on a strategy to reduce harm at music festivals through the promotion of drug-free events with the appropriate police resources to enforce the law."



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It's another example of politics before common sense, they know that music festivals are a convictions bonanza giving them statistics to quote to show how they are being tough on crime, and the politics of that go all the way from parliament to the hierarchy of career police.  None of them want to give that up, even if it means more people die than necessary.  And the police approach of sniffer dogs is a joke, the dogs miss most of the pills and powders, and I reckon a lot of the ones they do pick up are going to be because they were carrying weed as well.


I am in no way pro any drug besides canna, but at the end of the day drug intake is a personal choice and I have no right to dictate what other peoples decisions should be.  Reality is that human nature desires recreational drug stimulation, and as long as that is the case there will be demand, and when there's demand supply will find a way to profit from it.  Or in simple terms, policing will never stop drug use, and all getting tougher achieves is higher profit margins and dodgier products.


So for my mind testing at events is a no brainer and a bare minimum.  Personally I'd rather see a regulated industry behind the supply so we at least know what's going to be in the pills, and at what strength.  I know a couple of our kids have tried ekkies, and my youngest (and most impulsive) step daughter is very much into the music scene and has just moved to Sydney, so I'm very shit scared about what she's going to get into as I have no illusions, so this is a big issue for me.


Fucking Mike 2 faced Baird and his retarded views.  I wonder if someone from the right part of society with friends in the media (like Lucy Haslam) came out making a song and dance about protecting their child by organising pill testing, and that gained support in the media, if he would all of a sudden start making noises about being supportive all of a sudden, whilst obviously failing to do anything.  He loves playing mouthpiece in the media, but achieves nothing except backroom deals for his friends, but in his defence both sides of politics in NSW are a corrupt joke, and the Greens don't seem to have the balls to do anything constructive.

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my academic background is in harm reduction :)

Love Dr Alex Kodak's work - he is just one of a few leading the way to a harm minimization approach in Australia


Hashy- you've outlined many points that I too would argue.

especially this one  "policing will never stop drug use"


Drug use should be approached as a Public Health issue, not a legal issue.

What if the cops actually listened to the stories of those they arrest/charge/etc?

What would they find?


Many people use 'drugs' to self-medicate be it a mental health issue or like me with ADD, sativa's are a better choice for me than adrenal/ritalin etc


MDMA is a great drug for depression; there are proper academic/peer reviewed studies showing the promise of MDMA in treating depression. A large portion of the "addicted'/ "legaly affected" population had preexisting depression/bipolar, it was a much higher prevalence than the depression in the 'general' population.



I'm rambling... (my fave subject)

Love Dr Alex Kodak's work

Edited by Matanuska Thunder
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I used MDMA heavily when I was younger. I knew the source of the pills and always knew what I was having. Never heard of anyone ever OD'ING on MDMA. The trouble is these days proper MDMA is hard to get. Synthetic shit is easy to get so that's what is going into pills.


This pill testing will save lives if the kids are smart enough to use it to their advantage.

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I'm keen to see if his team will follow through on the testing sights at festivals, and if they need someone to run a ... mass spec?? Id been keen and would be a piece of piss.... as long as someone else drives. ;)

Edited by iTiC
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