The organisers of Tasmania‘s Dark Mofo winter festival have indicated that they may offer a pill testing service at this year’s event, following on from a trial that was held last year in the ACT.

ABC News report that representatives of the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), which runs the annual event, will be meeting with Pill Testing Australia on Monday for further discussions.

The nation’s first pill testing trial was held last April at the ACT leg of the Groovin’ The Moo festival, with 125 individuals using the service. A second trial is planned for this year’s festival.

Last year Dark Mofo creative director Leigh Carmichael urged the Tasmanian government to “stop playing politics” with the lives of young people, saying;

“We know drug use happens, particularly in environments like music festivals, so we must do what we can to reduce the risk of harm or death. We do not condone or seek to normalise illicit drug use, and we don’t wish to undermine the important work of Tasmania Police. Whether it’s through legislation, or in a pilot trial like the ACT government supported earlier this year, pill testing is a harm minimisation approach that must be adopted urgently.”

Last year, the Tasmanian Greens presented a bill in an attempt to establish a legal framework for pill testing. While the State Labor party had previously passed a motion in support of this, they voted against the Greens bill, saying that they failed to take consultation before presenting it.

While the state’s conservative government remains strongly opposed to pill testing, Liberal MP Sue Hickey broke ranks with her party to support pill testing and call for a trial program. She says current approaches to illicit drugs are “ineffective”, adding:

“Consider if your child was in this situation, would you prefer if they had one road block in their way through before they took that tablet? This is a life and death situation.” 

Tasmania’s Police Commissioner refused to speculate about what would happen if the pill testing trial at Dark Mofo goes ahead without the approval of the state government.

Source: ABC News
Image: AAP / Andrew Drummond