Sniffer Dogs Will Be Used At A Melb Festival Following Mass Overdose And Have We Learnt Nothing

Victoria Police will have sniffer dogs at an upcoming festival following the overdose of a number of people at a rave in Melbourne.

Police are planning a dog presence at Juicy Fest at Melbourne Showgrounds tomorrow, as searches for the drug that saw seven people put into an induced coma last weekend continue.

Speaking on the incident, Victorian Premier Jacinta Allen said enforcement was the solution, as she touted personal responsibility and said that pill testing would not be legalised in the state.

“If people are concerned about substances, don’t consume it. There’s a personal responsibility here as well,” she told media.

“That’s the way to stay out of hospital, that’s how to stay out of the intensive care ward, is to not take substances in the first place.”

Her comments have been condemned as “cowardly”.

“Rather than listen to the years of evidence and expert advice telling us pill testing saves lives, the new Premier is instead blaming young people and putting reform in the too-hard basket,” acting leader of the Victoria Greens Aiv Puglielli said in a statement provided to PEDESTRIAN.TV.

Puglielli said the batch of drugs from last weekend would still be circulating and people were still at risk, yet the government was choosing not to act.

“Victim-blaming and making snide remarks while these young people fight for their lives in hospital will only lead to more tragedy. Do better,” he said.

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

Sniffer dogs have come under the spotlight in recent months as it has been found that they have low success rates and cause unnecessary trauma within communities.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that sniffer dogs in Victoria find drugs on less than 50% of the people they stop. Meanwhile, NSW dogs have a failure rate of almost 75%.

Yet despite this, a positive signal from a sniffer dog can provide justification for police to conduct pat downs and strip searches. Many of those stripped, including girls as young as 12, report the searches to be “invasive and traumatic”. Further, the Law Enforcement Conduct Committee has repeatedly found that strip searches were being conducted improperly and without adequate record keeping.

A bill to legalise pill testing in the state is currently before parliament. If passed, testing would allow festival goers to test the quality and quantity of their drugs and allow people to make informed decisions, ideally preventing overdoses such as those seen last weekend.

However, without government or opposition support, the bill is destined to fail.