Regardless of your take on drugs, whether you think they are the greatest thing in the world or the height of evil, it’s simply reality that there will always be people who use them in one way or another. The current system fails to decrease drug use, and criminalising and punishing those who use them (especially addicts) only further marginalises them. We need to remove the negative stigma surrounding drugs and view them as a health concern and not a criminal issue.
It’s only the first day of the year and already someone has died from an overdose from a pill taken at a festival. The NSW Liberal government has refused to consider pill testing as a way to potentially save lives and, what one would have thought to be an incentive to them, reduce costs. I have nothing against people who are of the opinion drugs are ‘bad’, and I have never taken drugs myself, but just like those who argue that abortion is ‘bad’, they view pill testing as just a drug variant of Planned Parenthood, enabling and condoning their respective ‘troubles’.
Drug use, like abortion, has taken place regardless of the legality of it in a given country or state. Legalising, or at least decriminalising, it does not have to mean ‘condoning’ it, but it quite simply makes the process much, much safer. It also reduces the number of drugs taken, again similar to Planned Parenthood with abortions. Education and making necessary services available to those who need them are proven to work; telling people to just not take drugs again and again and refusing these services are proven to be deadly.
When a pill is tested and found to be dangerous, the user can then make an informed choice to throw it out, and unsurprisingly this has taken place when these tests have been trialled. If the pill is, relatively, safe to take, it is at that person’s discretion to do so, but knowing the risk of over-dosing or having adverse effects significantly lowered so long as they’re responsible.
Will it stop drug deaths at festivals? Probably not entirely, nothing works perfectly. But the moment you take away the cold, punishing approach and implement a health focused program, there are bound to be positive results. Here is an article about the trials done in Canberra in August last year. If you or anyone you know attend these types of festivals, stay safe, stay informed, and always make sure you know what you put into your body.
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