Australia21 Directors reinforce the powerful case for comprehensive pill testing at public events and question Four Corners’ emphasis on extreme party drug taking behaviour in the ABC’s story ‘Dying to Dance’.
While supporting informed debate about the need for drug policy reforms, the Board of Australia21 is concerned that the Four Corners program over-emphasised the extent of extreme party drug taking behaviour. This risked glamourising such behaviour. More importantly, it undermined the message – based on clear evidence – of widespread, more moderate use of these drugs that, in the absence of systematic pill testing, is putting all users at risk. The Board was also disappointed by the response of the NSW Police Minister to the evidence of the failings of the current policing policies, seemingly partly based on a misinterpretation of overseas experience.
The Chair of Australia21’s Board, Paul Barratt emphasised the growing recognition internationally that an overwhelming focus of policy and resources on policing illegal drugs is failing to address the major social, health and economic impacts of drug use of all types. “A21 will continue to cooperate with key interested parties to develop evidence based responses to minimising the harm from drugs, whether legal or illicit” he said. “What is urgently needed in Australia is political leadership to rebalance our policies towards harm minimisation.”
Read the full Australia21 MEDIA RELEASE.