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Byron Shire
March 8, 2021

Call for inquiry into roadside drug testing

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There are big questions around the reasons why roadside drug testing (RDT), that doesn’t test for impairment of cannabis but merely its presence, is being used and a call for a parliamentary inquiry on RDT is now being made by Nimbin’s HEMP embassy president Michaels Balderstone.

The call for an inquiry follows the NSW police expert on drug driving, Dr Judith Perl, admitting in court that detection by the RDT test depends on how cannabis is taken.

As reported yesterday in Echonetdaily, ‘When questioned in general terms about the effectiveness of the police’s oral testing method in detecting different types of cannabis consumption, Dr Perl said: “if it is ingested it will disappear out of the oral fluid very rapidly, or if it is ingested in a capsule form it will not even be detected [at all]’.”

The impact of the RDT program on people’s lives has been devastating according to Mr Balderstone who said, ‘Nothing has upset cannabis users since sniffer dogs like the seriously flawed roadside drug testing, but it looks like finally it is being dragged into the sunlight. A lot of people’s lives have been shattered by losing their licence over this unfair drug driver testing law.’

Basically capsules of cannabis medicinal oil are not detectable in the roadside saliva testing and cookies are pretty much similar as I read it. This further exposes the RDT for what it is… a hastily scratched together program that had no testing or evidence to back it up.’

Harm reduction – evidence not ideology

Focussing on drug decriminalisation and harm reduction Greens MP and spokesperson for Drug Law Reform & Harm Reduction, Cate Faehrmann is travelling to Portugal to gather evidence of that country’s successful drug policies. The trip (self funded) will include attendance at the 2019 Harm Reduction Summit in Porto, plus several days of site visits in Lisbon and Porto as well as meetings with policy experts and lawmakers from across the world.

‘We have a government in NSW with its head in the sand when it comes to drugs, and a premier who has repeatedly denied the evidence before her that harm reduction works,’ she said.

‘I’ll be gathering evidence on how Portugal ended the war on drugs, and I’ll be all too happy to share with premier Berejiklian on my return. It’s up to all parliamentarians to listen to the experts and develop laws based on evidence, not ideology.

‘Portugal is a remarkable success story. By decriminalising the use and possession of all drugs, they have developed a harm reduction model that prioritises people’s health and wellbeing, offering the support and services that people need, when they need it.

‘During this term of parliament I’ll be working with experts to see NSW adopt a harm reduction approach to drugs such as pill testing as well as better funding for health services like more supervised injecting centres and rehab. I’ll also be driving a conversation in the parliament and the community about what NSW can learn from other countries which have decriminalised drugs or even legalised drugs like cannabis.’

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