Australia

Port Phillip council pushes to be first in Victoria to run pill testing trial

A council in Melbourne wants to trial pill testing to avoid overdose deaths. Source: AAP

Port Phillip council in Melbourne wants to be the first in Victoria to run a pill testing trial with the help of venues, after several festival deaths.

An inner-Melbourne council wants to help curb the "bitter harvest of bodies" from drug deaths by becoming the first in Victoria to run a pill testing trial.

Port Phillip council, which includes the popular St Kilda entertainment district, is calling on the Andrews Labor government to allow and help fund drug testing at participating venues.

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Australia's two biggest states have pushed back pill testing at music festivals
Australia's two biggest states have pushed back pill testing at music festivals

"Two years ago the Port Phillip council said that we supported the use of a trial. Since then there's been a bitter harvest of dead bodies around the country," Mayor Dick Gross told the Nine Network on Monday.

"It's unacceptable that governments turn their back on this any more and I know that it is revolting to some people that we would aid and abet pill taking."

The call follows a string of suspected overdose deaths at Australian music festivals.

Mr Gross said the prohibition model had failed and acknowledged testing was not a panacea for all drug deaths.

"The testing has to make sure and stress at all times that it's better not to take the pills," he said.

"But you are not going to stop people taking the pills, so you minimise harm. You never eradicate harm."

He pointed to the harm minimisation programs for the Richmond injecting room and needle exchange programs.

Reason Party's Fiona Patten will be joined by other crossbench members of the Legislative Council and health experts on Monday at parliament to call on the Andrews government to approve a trial.

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