13 Jan 2024

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Media Release


The Victorian Greens have said the Victorian Labor Government needs to stop ignoring expert health advice and introduce pill testing as a matter of urgency, to help keep young people safer. 

This follows reports of several hospitalisations yesterday at Juicy Fest in Melbourne, with a woman in a critical condition after a suspected drug overdose at the music festival.

The Greens say it’s clear Labor’s current approach to drug-related harm isn’t working, which yesterday saw hordes of police and sniffer dogs attend the festival rather than opting for a health-based approach.

Acting Leader of the Victorian Greens, Aiv Puglielli, said each day the new Premier delayed reform was another day a young person was at risk of overdose or drug-related death. He said it made no sense that Labor was continuing to reject measures like pill testing that would help keep young people safer.

Last weekend, eight people were hospitalised after a suspected overdose at Hardmission Festival in Flemington.

Yesterday, the Department of Health issued a statement indicating that these hospitalisations were not the result of a single batch of MDMA, but a mixture of taking the party drug, sweltering temperatures and physical exertion.

A pill testing service would have connected festival goers to health professionals to provide advice on behaviour when consuming their tested substance, which in other jurisdictions has shown a clear shift in approach to drug-taking behaviour such as accommodating for hot weather conditions.

Quotes attributable to Acting Leader of the Victorian Greens, Aiv Puglielli MLC:

“So there we have it – all those cops, the sniffer dogs, a PR stunt for the ages – and yet more young Victorians are in hospital.

“A full week after the suspected mass overdose in Flemington, and we’ve only just learned what was in those drugs.

“What would the new Premier have done if that drug batch was cut with something lethal? They’re playing Russian roulette with the lives of young Victorians.

“Each day the Victorian Labor Government refuses to listen to expert health advice and back pill testing is another day a young person is at risk of overdose or drug-related death.

“Sniffer dogs will not save lives. Tough talk from cops and politicians will not save lives. Pill testing will.”

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