JUST SAY NO TO TESTS
EDITORIAL PAGE 22
The debate, such as it is, over drug testing at music festivals features an extraordinary amount of misinformation and misconceptions. Among those misconceptions is that drug testing would improve the safety of young people taking drugs at such events.
Even if testing was able to provide quick and reliable results amid the decidedly nonsterile atmosphere of a music festival, all that such testing could do is at most determine what chemical components are within a submitted tablet.
Supporters of drug testing believe deaths could be reduced if impurities are found. What they clearly miss is that the drugs themselves are the impurities.
A test that shows an MDMA tablet to be a 100 per cent pure MDMA tablet does not mean that the tablet is safe. It means it is an MDMA tablet and that consuming it may be fatal.
NSW Poisons Information Centre toxicologist Professor Andrew Dawson explains that MDMA causes a potentially deadly body temperature spike.
“Normally, what will happen to people is that they will often get increasingly agitated, they can then become confused and that’s often a sign they already have a temperature,” he told The Daily Telegraph. No impurities required.
Testing advocates assume it should be a government responsibility. That is, they believe that the government should test substances the government has determined are dangerous to the point of illegality.
Putting aside the absurdity of that situation, why are the cashed-up organisers of music festivals not arranging their own drug testing? Ignore, for a moment, the obvious legal complications and consider instead who is actually directly responsible for the wellbeing of music festival attendees.
If organisers of events that are more like drug festivals with a small musical aspect wish to continue profiting from these events, let them invest in the safety of their clients.
After all, testing advocates assume testing is such a simple matter that all it requires is government approval. If this is the case, then it ought to be just as straightforward for organisers to arrange their own on-site testing facilities
Beyond a certain point the whole debate becomes uselessly complex. But there is one easy way to deal with the entire issue.
Don’t take drugs.