Amnesty bins will be provided for festival goers to discard their drugs without the fear of prosecution by the police.
This comes as the major part of the NSW government’s response to the Deputy Coroner’s recommendations following the inquest into the deaths of six patrons at NSW music festivals.
Although these recommendations included actions such as safe pill testing and a permanent drug checking facility, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that amnesty bins will provide an easy way for festival goers to discard their drugs with ‘no questions asked.’
‘The recent deaths at music festivals are tragic reminders of the dangers of illegal drugs,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
‘We will continue to send the strong message that drugs can and do kill.’
Greens drug law reform and harm reduction spokesperson, Cate Faehrmann, said that this protocol will not be effective at reducing harm.
‘The war on drugs has proven that a focus on getting people to not take drugs doesn’t work – if we can’t keep drugs out of prisons we’re not going to keep them out of festivals,’ said Ms Faehrmann.
‘It’s disappointing that amnesty bins are the only recommendation from the Deputy Coroner’s report that the Premier has listened to.
‘If the government was serious about saving lives they’d make reducing the harm from drugs their priority not their failed crusade of reducing drug use.’
An evaluation into the second pilot program of pill testing in the ACT was released on 10 December, a collaboration between Harm Reduction Australia and Pill Testing Australia.
The Australian National University Medical School, Social Research & Evaluation team confirmed that the Australian front of house pill testing model developed by Pill Testing Australia reduces the harm for people that may engage in drug use at festivals.
The independent evaluation concluded that patrons felt more knowledgeable about how to prevent the potential harms of drugs after accessing the service and the service did not give a so-called ‘green light’ to drug use.
‘All those who had a very dangerous substance detected disposed of that drug in the amnesty bin,’ the evaluation read.