A day after the ABC’s in-depth report on the arguments for – and against – pill-testing at music festivals, New South Wales Police Minister Troy Grant has doubled down on his assertion testing doesn’t help anybody but drug dealers themselves. 

His alternative? Make festivals pay for sniffer dog searches on-premises before punters even rock up. Oh, and organisers would ideally foot the bill. Of course. 

That stance contradicts one presented by Opposition MP Jo Haylen over the weekend who wants them done with altogether; she said sniffer dogs can cause drug users to panic and ingest large quantities of drugs at once, when they may have spread their usage out if the dogs weren’t present.

She proposed pill-testing, instead. 

Regardless, less than 24 hours after Four Corners found his stance on the issue is largely based on “simplistic” and “wishful thinking,” Grant said “this Government will not run a quality assurance scheme using taxpayers’ dollars to prop up the profits of drug dealers.”

Doubling his hardline approach, he also said testing drugs for toxic agents gives a “very dangerous sense of security about popping these pills”, and that “knowing what is in your illegal drugs doesn’t make it safe.”

Of course, that means that anyone deadset on taking drugs will have to go in blind, but hey.

NSW Police Minister Wants Festivals To Cough Up For Sniffer Dog Searches

Regardless of Grant’s position, momentum is certainly building behind the idea of instituting pill-testing at festivals while moving away from “traditional” approaches. Today, Greens MP Jenny Leong launched a further push to can sniffer dog programs:

Meanwhile, fellow MP David Shoebridge called Grant out specifically, and urged Premier Mike Baird to take a more holistic approach to harm minimisation and drug use. 

Drug use remains an absurdly complex issue and literally nobody here wants to give drug dealers the opportunity to poison their clients, but having the option to easily find out beforehand might actually be kinda nice – without the expense of criticised programs being forced on festival organisers. 

Source: ABC. 
Photo: Don Arnold / Getty.