Nearly two-thirds of the Australian public are in favor of pill trials at music festivals, new national data shows.
The findings, drawn from the Australian National University’s long-running electoral study, show strong public support for a drug harm minimization strategy that has been largely rejected by governments across the country despite high profile death cases at music festivals.
An investigation into drug-related deaths at festivals in New South Wales called for pill testing to be introduced, but the call was rejected last year by the state’s Prime Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, who claimed it would give people “a false sense of security.” The Victorian Labor government has also rejected requests for trial.
In an article published in the Drug and Alcohol Review on Monday, researchers say that understanding why politicians have not acted on the wishes of the public is a “puzzle,” but they suggest that the answer may be “the strongly political dimension of debate”.
About 63% of those surveyed agreed when asked whether the pill test should be allowed at music festivals, including 33% who strongly agreed.
Nearly 22% disagreed, including 13% strongly, among the 2,045 people who answered that question in the 2019 Australian Elections Study, a large nationally weighted representative poll conducted shortly after the federal elections.
“Young people and those who do not attend church are more likely to express their support,” says the newspaper of Ian McAllister and Toni Makkai of the ANU.
“Supporters of other liberal social views, such as the legalization of marijuana, also strongly support the pill test.”
The document says that people who distrust the government – now the majority of the population, which has grown substantially over the past decade – are “somewhat more likely to support pill trials.”
But he finds significant variations in views on the pill test among supporters of the various political parties, with the Liberal Party and especially the National Party strongly opposed.
Those who vote for the Greens were found to be much more supportive of the pill tests than Labor voters.
The document notes that while the majority of the public supports the pill trial, it has not translated into policy outside the Australian Capital Territory, where the government has said it will continue to push for the pill trial nationwide. .
A previous ANU evaluation of the pill tests at Canberra’s Groovin the Moo in April 2019 stated that the trial of 234 clients was a success because “all those who were detected a very dangerous substance threw that drug into the container of amnesty “.
The pill test allows festival patrons to identify the content of a substance, with the results aimed at reducing the possibility of harm.
The level of support of 63% found in the study is slightly higher than the 57% who supported allowing potential drug users to try their pills at designated sites in a different study, the National Drug Strategy Household Survey of 2019.
The 2019 Australia Elections Study was funded by a grant from the Research Council of Australia, however, Makkai revealed that she acted as an advisor to Pill Testing Australia and led the operational review of the first pill testing site on the ACT.
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