Pill testing has been an incredibly popular topic of discussion recently following the devastating deaths of a number of teenagers at music festivals.
In the past four months, five people in NSW alone have lost their lives after taking drugs, causing a mass of people to urge the state government to review their safety measures and call for pill testing to be seriously considered.
However, while speaking with Kyle and Jackie O this morning about the controversial topic, the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian remained strong on her opinion that pill testing just isn’t a viable or safe option.
“Hand on heart, I always want to do the right thing by people and I know there’s different views in the community but I just want to send the message that what people do is their business but taking ecstasy isn’t safe,” Gladys said to us this morning.
“A pill test might say this is pure ecstasy – that doesn’t mean that’s not going to kill you.
“And for that reason, I do not support pill testing because I don’t think it saves lives. In fact I worry it gives people a false sense of security and could actually make things worse.”
The premier went on to say that they have the coroner looking into the deaths of the five young Australians to help inform the government on the issue and decide how to stop these tragedies from continuing to happen.
“I’m pleased the coroner is looking into the five recent deaths that we’ve had, let them come back and say this is the reason and then we can all be informed about what, if anything, we need to do next,” Gladys continued.
“They had an initial hearing yesterday and they laid out some facts yesterday so I’m hoping it won’t take too long.”
But the premier’s view on pill testing is not something that is supported by everyone.
Not only have hundreds of people have rallied in Sydney recently in support of pill testing, but the family of a young teenager, who recently died after allegedly taking drugs, has come forward asking to speak with Ms Berejiklian in a bid to discuss their views.
19-year-old Alex Ross-King died at the FOMO music festival in Sydney earlier this month after taking a substance, believed to be MDMA, with her family saying in a statement that they wish to discuss “harm reduction strategies” with the Premier.
“We are deeply grieving the sudden loss of our beautiful girl Alex,” the statement read.
“We encourage the government to courageously take all active measure possible to reduce the risk, in particular, festival goers, through intensifying current initiatives as well as implementing other harm reduction strategies.
“Pill testing is only one measure. There is no safe level of drug consumption BUT, it is an opportunity for intervention.
“We will in due course request an audience with Premier Berejiklian to confer and exchange views.”
Gladys told Kyle and Jackie O this morning that there are many views regarding pill testing, especially when it comes to the families affected by these tragic deaths.
“Today we heard, I don’t know if some of your listeners remember the tragic death of Anna Wood who took a tablet, and her dad has been very vocal, he came out to say that pill testing wouldn’t have saved my daughter,” She said.
“Parents have different reactions to it and I don’t want to speak on behalf of the families because I can only imagine the trauma all of them are still feeling.”
Moving forward, Ms Berejiklian concluded by telling us that she will remain firm on this topic and will instead be focusing on providing information to people about the risks of taking drugs.
“Everybody reacts differently and you can’t say what’s safe for one person is safe for another. The best message to send to everybody is the risks of ecstasy and illicit drugs,” continued Gladys.
“We can’t tell people what to do with their lives but you need to tell people the risks and that’s why I’m standing firm on this.
“If I thought it was going to save lives I would do it. But I actually worry that it’s going to have the opposite affect.”