Must do more about MDMA

| January 9, 2024

Several people became seriously ill after taking the drug ecstasy (MDMA) during an electronic music festival, held at the Flemington racecourse over the weekend.

Expert opinion seems to favour pill testing at such events.

I understand that testing reaches only about one in five of those who obtain illicit substances at festivals.

There is also some doubt as to the accuracy of the test results.

It is said that testing brings users into contact with trained harm reduction workers to inform patrons about the risks of the drug and what to do in the event of experiencing an adverse reaction.

It seems incredible that anyone would need to be told not to swallow anything that might be harmful.

Paramedics had to attend the Flemington event on Saturday. The Victorian Ambulance Union secretary said it was a “dire” situation placing incredible strain on resources.

Presumably, others suffered because paramedics and emergency departments were diverted from caring for them.

And what about the sociopathic parasites who profit from pushing their poison?
According to the old metaphor: it’s better to have a fence at the top of a cliff rather than an ambulance at the bottom.

A few simple measures could help

Sniffer dogs and random saliva tests at entrances would help deter poison pushers and those who take pills prior to entry. Police would have ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect that people might try to take illicit substances into a music event. On the basis of experience, it would be unreasonable to think otherwise.

Organisers could even ban or jam the use of mobile phones, although emergency phones would have to be accessible.

CCTV surveillance?

Additional police patrols should be funded by event organisers, alongside additional paramedic capacity.

Patrons who cooperate with police would be immune from prosecution, unless they are caught in possession of more than a specified quantity of illicit substances.

At least these measures would send a positive signal that the community is willing to defend itself by trying to protect its young people. Surely it’s better to have kids looked after by police than emergency doctors.

There is no reason why education and harm minimisation and enforcement cannot work together.

Police are able to detain motorists on suspicion of unroadworthiness, careless driving or to check blood alcohol levels. There are severe penalties for using a mobile phone while driving.

Why are we so squeamish about enforcement when it comes to so-called recreational drugs? What is ‘recreational’ about the use of a dangerous class A drug with no quality control, and which is much more dangerous when mixed with alcohol?