The NSW premier, Mike Baird, has dismissed a planned trial of pill testing at music festivals as “ridiculous”. “We are not going to be condoning in any way what illegal drug dealers are doing,” he told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.
His comments follow reports the Sydney doctor Alex Wodak, the president of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, wants to begin a privately funded pill testing trial – and is prepared to break the law to do so – to save lives. Wodak and an emergency medical specialist, David Caldicott, say they will begin a privately funded trial with or without the Baird government’s approval. “I am prepared to break the law to save young people’s lives,” Dr Wodak told Fairfax Media.
In January, the New South Wales government threatened to shut down some music festivals after a spate of drug overdoses. The threat followed several people being rushed to hospital suffering suspected drug overdoses at Sydney’s Field Day music festival, which is held on New Year’s Day. More than 180 others were charged with drug offences. There were three drug-related deaths at similar events in 2015.
The NSW premier, Mike Baird, said in January that ministers would be asked to review the regulations for granting permits for events on public land. “Enough is enough, this simply has to stop,” he told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.
On Saturday, seven people were charged with drugs offences after the first day of the Secret Garden Music Festival in Camden, south-west of Sydney. Police said they searched more than 100 people at the three-day festival on Friday and those arrested face 11 charges between them. They were all granted conditional bail to appear at Picton Local Court on April 26.
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