Aussie students launch pill test campaign

Richard Di Natale is urging politicians to get behind a student push for pill testing.
Richard Di Natale is urging politicians to get behind a student push for pill testing.

Young Australians hoping to prevent drug overdose deaths have launched a campaign calling on politicians to introduce pill testing.

Australia's youth drug law reform organisation, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, announced the #BeHeardNotHarmed campaign on Wednesday at Melbourne nightclub Revolver.

"This is the next step we have to take to end this mounting national crisis of young people being at risk," spokesman Nick Kent said.

"We are here at Revolver Upstairs. It is gathering place for many young people and it is a place that has seen tragedy. Tragedies that are out of all of our control, unnecessary overdoses that happen in nightlife settings and music festivals."

Stephanie Tzanetis, the co-ordinator of Dancewize, said pill-testing was not a green light to take drugs, rather connect youth to health services.

"We are not condoning drug use but we are saying it does happen and there are pragmatic approaches that can be taken to reduce the harm experienced by young people," she said.

Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale, also a drug and alcohol doctor, said politicians needed to listen to health experts and research which showed pill-testing saves lives.

"It doesn't matter what politicians say, people will continue to make these choices and they should not have to pay for it with their lives," he said.

"I urge all politicians to get out of the way of their ideological blinkers and support the evidence."

Australian Associated Press