Sunrise’s entertainment host has called for a national debate about pill testing, citing the high numbers of Aussies who use illicit drugs and European countries that already conduct the practice.
Edwina Bartholemew today weighed into the debate after a lengthy chat with a group of young pill testing supporters, saying millions of Australians use illicit substances.
She said simply saying, “Don’t do drugs,” was the “simple solution”.
“Many experts and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians support pill testing,” Bartholemew said.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has rejected calls to introduce the harm minimisation practice, saying it could lead to a “false sense of security”.
Earlier this month, Ms Berejiklian said she would be implementing a number of recommendations that came from an expert panel including harsher penalties for drug dealers present at music festivals.
“The best message we can send … is these substances, the MDMA, the ecstasy, can kill you,” she said.
— Edwina Bartholomew (@edwina_b)
During the segment on Wednesday morning, Bartholemew said: “I know a lot of you are just shaking your heads thinking, ‘Well, just don’t do drugs’.
“And of course that is the simple solution. But the most recent national drug survey done in 2016 found that 3.1 million Australians reported using an illicit drug within a 12 month period. That includes cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy.
“Surveys done at music festivals found 73 per cent of the people there use drugs.
“Most of all the people we spoke to just want the government to consider pill testing and look at examples overseas where it has been implemented.
“To look at countries like the Netherlands, France and Spain. Assess the benefits, the harms and the legal ramifications so that we can make an informed choice about it.” she added.
Bartholemew said figures from last year’s Groovin The Moo festival, where pill testing trials were conducted, 58 per cent of participants took the drugs as planned, 12 per cent used less drugs and 18 per cent decided not to use the drugs.
— Sunrise (@sunriseon7)
Bartholemew said the six and a half minute segment brought together the main points from an hour-long discussion with six young people who were all in favour of the implementation of pill testing.
“A lot of the main arguments I’ve heard from parents is that, ‘My child isn’t stupid enough to take a drug’,” said one of the women interviewed.
“Your children are very likely, having drugs at festivals, or at private house parties, or on their own now, or they definitely will.