Drugs testing proposals make a lot of sense
IF a new drugs testing proposal is eventually introduced into the National Drugs Strategy, we could see stations set up at festivals and night club settings, to enable people to check what is actually in the substance they intend to consume.
There are certainly pros and cons to such a proposal but it would take a certain amount of joined up thinking to make it work.
The idea is that such testing promotes ‘harm reduction’ as those who intend to take drugs can find out before hand what sort of a mixture is in their possession.
In practical terms, those who are most at risk probably wouldn’t take the time to do so - they would just take the drugs and deal with the consequences, if any, later on.
The proposal did get me thinking however, and I think that the people who would be most likely to get their drugs tested, would be more encouraged to dump the whole lot when they find out what their drug of choice actually contains.
If they go to the trouble of checking this out then they have a certain level of concern and depending on the results, they are obviously going to think twice before consuming a potential lethal cocktail of chemicals - particularly if it is there in black and white for them to read.
A second suggestion is the introduction of amnesty bins at festivals which would allow those having second thoughts or who want to dump an unwanted quantity of drugs to do so safely and without fear of prosecution.
The finer details of such a plan would take some ironing out - but for the most part anything that encourages a reduction in illegal drug abuse is positive.
Also, the authorities suggest that having these discarded substances at their disposal would assist in determining what is out there on the market at any one time, and what vulnerable young people are consuming.
Those against the proposals say that drug-testing facilities will simply encourage greater drug use - and while for some this may be the case, the reality is that it would almost certainly save lives and prevent as many overdoses.
If people are going to take drugs, whether at a festival or in a venue, then there is very little that can be done to stop them, so whatever can be done to reduce the risk is surely worth exploring.