12 December 2019
I have long advocated for a harm minimisation approach to drug policy and welcome the NSW Government’s introduction of amnesty bins at music festivals as an important first step in keeping people safe. This is something I have advocated for because allowing people to discard their drugs without the threat of consequences is far better than intimidating them into digesting large quantities through a strong police and sniffer dog presence. Festivalgoers have lost their lives after panic ingestion of large quantities of drugs and amnesty bins may help prevent such tragedies.
But it is crucial that amnesty bins are used as an opportunity for police and health to work together on policing protocols around the bins and more broadly at festivals. The focus must be on keeping people safe, not making arrests, and I urge the government to work with festival operators to ensure amnesty bins are effective.
We still need a comprehensive harm minimisation approach based on evidence in line with the Deputy State Coroner’s recent recommendations to introduce pill testing, decriminalise personal drug use, overhaul strip searches and drug dog operations, and undertake a drug summit. I will continue to work with the government as it implements this reform and advocate for the implementation of the Deputy State Coroner’s full recommendations on drug use at music festivals.
My media statement: HERE