11 November 2019
Any death from illicit drug use is tragic and preventable. The Deputy Coroner’s recommendations for a pill testing trial and stopping sniffer dogs and strip searches at music festivals are practical solutions to prevent more young people dying. I support evidence-based policies that treat illicit drugs as a health issue and work to reduce harm and our NSW Cross Party Harm Minimisation Roundtable has again called on the Premier, Leader of the Opposition and other MPs to hold a NSW Parliament Drug Forum like that held in 1999 which resulted in reform action.
The law and order approach to drug use is causing significant harm. Music festivals are now saturated with police officers with drug detection dogs, encouraging people to take risks like consuming higher doses or buying from strangers. Strip searches have become routine at music festivals with the number of people subject to intrusive, humiliating and often unlawful body searches skyrocketing and even young children affected. Only a third of strip searches result in charges mainly for drug possession, not dealing.
We need a health approach to drug use. I will continue to call for decriminalisation of personal drug use, pill testing, and overhauling sniffer dogs and intrusive body searches.