On Monday September 11th, Fair Treatment Partner Unharm launched an open letter calling for the NSW State Government and Premier Chris Minns to step up, and create drug checking services with urgency.
Summer is coming quickly, and with a likely return of El Nino, it will be a scorching summer. What we know, is that heat drastically increases the risk of something going wrong when taking untested substances, and with a bumper music festival season ahead, the time to act is now.
Labor has previously stated their support for Drug Checking (Previously referred to as Pill Testing), with former leaders Jodi McKay and Michael Daley both taking the option into consideration whilst in opposition. Despite their support of the recommendations of both the 2019 Coronial Inquiry into Music Festival Deaths and the Ice Inquiry, there has been no action on the matter since they returned to Government.
Drug checking is proven to be an effective tool to keep our community safe, and has been implemented in 20 countries overseas, as well as in the ACT. The success of these programs show that when given the option, people want to be well informed and safe. Over 60% of people in NSW support drug checking, and this number continues to grow as we make our voice heard.
St Stevens Church has offered their church to be a site for Drug Checking. Reverend Ken Day, Minister of St Stevens Church in Sydney, spoke at the press conference Monday morning, where they offered the grounds of the church as a potential site for Drug Checking.
“We need to be a place where people are offered that welcome…Uniting is acting in our Wesleyan theology… a church as a Pill Testing location…allows and empowers to be part of admitting needing support, seek help by their own volition…and to know and be affirmed by their inquiry that they’ve made a good choice.”Reverend Ken Day, St Stevens Uniting Church
Emma Maiden, General Manager of Media and Advocacy at Uniting NSW.ACT also lead the press conference, affirming the commitment of Uniting, through the Fair Treatment campaign, to implement evidence based reforms to our drug laws.
“If one life is saved by introducing drug checking, it will be worth it. If one person decides not to take a drug, or take less of a drug because of drug checking, then it will be worth it. And if one person has their first conversation with a health professional about their drug taking, it will be worth it.
Uniting believes that all laws, including our laws around drugs, should be informed by based practice and by evidence. But right now, that’s just not the case- if it was, we would already have drug checking in NSW.”Emma Maiden, General Manger Advocacy and Media, Uniting NSW.ACT
Want to show your support for Drug Checking in NSW? You can sign Unharm’s petition, or send an email to your local member!