• "Even though most people are for it, and we have the technology, pill testing is a topic no politician is brave enough to talk about," says Adriana Buccianti. (suppiled)
"Even though most people are for it, and we have the technology, pill testing is a topic no politician is brave enough to talk about. So it’s still illegal in Australia and people like my son continue to die," says Adriana Buccianti.
By
Adriana Buccianti

14 Apr 2017 - 6:00 PM  UPDATED 21 Apr 2017 - 3:41 AM

When the police turned up on my doorstep, I knew what they were about to say.

But even as they said the words – “We’re sorry to inform you, your son has passed away” – I was convinced they’d made a mistake.

A drug overdose at a music festival? No. Not my son. He knows better than that.    

But they were right. My Daniel – my best friend – had died.

When the shock subsided and I found my voice again, the anger emerged. I lashed out at the festival organisers. How could they let this happen? I wanted the Rainbow Serpent Festival gone.

But then a friend of Dan’s said to me, “Do you really want to destroy everything that Dan loved?" 

He was right. Closing down a festival won’t put an end to dodgy drugs. 

So I went back to the festival and said, “I’m still angry. But I want to help.”

They invited me speak at the opening of the next festival. 

Standing on a stage speaking to thousands of young people felt good. I told them, “Please be careful and please look out for your mates.”

But what I wish I could have said is, “My son took a dodgy pill and died. But because of him, this won’t happen to you. This year, you can get your pills tested.”

Of course, I couldn’t say that. Even though most people are for it, and we have the technology, pill testing is a topic few politicians are brave enough to talk about. So it’s still illegal in Australia and people like my son continue to die.

I remember, not long after Dan died, someone I’d just met asked me how he died. I said, ‘A car accident.’ I walked away, got in my car and cried my heart out. I was too ashamed to tell the truth.

It’s time we acknowledge the war on drugs has failed. Two and a half million Australians use recreational drugs and most of them aren’t addicts. But when something does go terribly wrong, it’s often because they didn’t know what they were taking.  

Making pill testing illegal only stigmatises the drug taker and their family. 

I remember, not long after Dan died, someone I’d just met asked me how he died. I said, ‘A car accident.’ I walked away, got in my car and cried my heart out. I was too ashamed to tell the truth.

That was five years ago and I’ve thought long and hard about this since then – believe me, when your son dies, it’s all you think about. If we know our sons and daughters are going to experiment with drugs, we have a moral responsibility to protect them.

We know people drink drive – that’s why we have breath testing. We know people take drugs – so why don’t we have pill testing? 

This Easter weekend, thousands of young people will be taking drugs at festivals around the country. 

My son cannot die again, but without pill testing there’s a chance someone you care about might.

It's time to act. 

Adriana created a Change.org petition calling on the NSW and Victorian premiers to allow pill testing at music festivals. You can sign her petition here.  

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