(PDF) 'Worth the test?' Pragmatism, pill testing and drug policy

Added on - 21 Feb 2021

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Legalising Pill Testing atFestivals
TABLE OF CONTENTBACKGROUND INFORMATION...............................................................................................1LITERATURE REVIEW...............................................................................................................1PILL TESTING..........................................................................................................................1IMPACT OF PILL TESTING....................................................................................................2NEED FOR LEGALISING PILL TESTING IN FESTIVE EVENTS.......................................2LEGISLATIVE AND HEALTH CARE CONTROVERSIES RELATED TO ISSUE.............3DISCUSSION.................................................................................................................................4CONCLUSION...............................................................................................................................5REFERENCES................................................................................................................................5
BACKGROUND INFORMATIONDrug overdose related deaths among youth is becoming a major concern for the healthprofessionals and government authorities. There has been increasing trend of taking drugs in themusic and cultural festivals such as Christmas or New year. Pill testing is defined as the harmreduction service which analyses the drug content consumed at festivals or other recreationalevents. The aim of pill testing is to protect consumers from life threatening impact of harmfulsubstances present in illicit drugs. The issue has been gaining a lot of controversy due toincreasing number of deaths due to drug overdose at festive events. There is need to develop aregulatory framework so that this practice can be encouraged and people can be protected fromthe drug reactions. This presentation aims at providing an overview of the ongoing debates onthe issue of legalizing pill testing during festivals.LITERATURE REVIEWPILL TESTINGAccording toDay & et.al., (2018)the tragic development in terms of drug availability atfestive events and deaths due to over dosage of drugs has urged for the need of pill testing acrossAustralia. Considerable number of people consume illegal drugs in the festival events such asmusical events. However due to regulation on their supply and availability these drugs are soldand used in black market production and thus most of the users does not have any informationregarding their outcomes or the dangerous additive present in the drugs.Luther & et.al., (2018)stated that when small sample of substance is tested so that userscan be provided with the necessary information related to it then such analysis is known as pilltesting. It can also be used so that individuals can be provided with necessary counselling andguidance without involvement or action from police or other authorities. The testing is alsosupported by various health professionals such asnursing and midwifery associations, generalpractitioners and other medical associations. One of the most significant advantage ofperforming such testing is that it helps in peddling extremely harmful substances which are notrecognized by users and leads to adverse consequences.As per the view ofHaggan, (2019)pill testing or the drug check does not help to reducethe harmful risk factors instead it will give people a green licence to openly promote and supportthe recreational drugs which are banned by the government. The aim of promoting pill testing isto acknowledge users of recreational drugs about health consequences of the drug so that they1
can take informed decisions about the drug they are consuming in the festival events or parties.Some commercial kits for pill testing are also available in the market which are used by festivalgoers which can be used. However, these test kits does not inform about dangerous agents in thedrug and thus are less significant and not approachable to every user.IMPACT OF PILL TESTINGPill testing is very common in European counties and is considered as valuable as it givesan opportunity to users to make informed choice regarding drug consumption. At festivals thereis huge number of users who seeks to consume recreational drugs.Hollett & Gately, (2019)stated that the availability of pill testing kits or the booths inform usersabout drug content. Themost supportive users of these drugs which belongs to age group 20-29 tends to make betterdecisions when pill testing is performed in real time during festivals. Pill testing can bringsignificant changes to black market as when people will have validated proofs regarding healthconsequences then they will make wise decisions.The results of pill testing have significant impact upon the behaviour of individuals,consumption choice and drug dosage.Groves, (2018)elucidated that through pill testing servicesat events clinical authorities will get a rare opportunity to communicate with the drug consumersso that their drug difficulties and health issues can be resolved. Using the statistics and records ofpill testing government can also receive data so that health policies and control systems can bedeveloped and improved for psychoactive drugs. Contrary to thisDilkes-Frayne, (2016)arguedthat pill testing will not serve benefits for every individual. As legal pill testing can normalizeillicit drug consumption it is possible that people can ignore the test results and the consumptionof such drugs can increase drastically.NEED FOR LEGALISING PILL TESTING IN FESTIVE EVENTSAccording toBarratt& et.al.,(2019)several countries such as Netherlands, Belgium,Spain, Germany, England and France have frameworks for the pill testing. The pill testing isprovided by both local government and communities. However still there is lack of legalframework endorsed by the government for the testing purpose. Several social and health careorganisations also support pill testing. For instance in New Zealand volunteer groups such as'KnowYourStuffNZ' offers pill testing services. This organization works independently but alsoreceives support from New Zealand Drug Foundation. Though Australia has known to be verypopular in adopting “harm minimization approach” to drugs but still there is lack of legal2
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