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Another tragic drug death shows hard-line approach failing to save lives

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 10 Dec 2018

Australian Greens Leader Dr Richard Di Natale has called for governments across Australia to urgently adopt pill testing, following another tragic death at a Sydney dance party on the weekend.

“My heart goes out to Callum Brosnan’s family and friends, following his tragic death in Sydney as a result of an avoidable drug overdose. Dance parties are a rite of passage for so many young people – and it’s shocking that this one night has ended in tragedy,” Di Natale said.

“It is an appalling indictment on this country’s political leadership that we need to keep on issuing condolences for drug deaths, when they could have been prevented by pill testing. Going to a party shouldn’t be deadly, and it’s devastating that we face having to make the same plea after every avoidable death. 

“No approach can entirely prevent deaths, but we owe it to people to pursue options that actually work. Despite what the Premier would want you to think, strict policing doesn’t stop drug usage, and in fact drives people to riskier drug taking.

“The NSW Premier’s tough new laws have already failed, and Gladys Berejiklian should be prepared to explain to the parents of this young man, and those who were injured, as to why she is not following the evidence.

“Pill testing works. It gives people vital information about drugs they’ve already decided to take, potentially helping them and others avoid harmful contaminants or overdosing on a particularly potent pill.

“The Australian Greens approach to pill testing puts people in touch with a health practitioner, giving them advice about the impacts of drug use and information about the contents of their drugs. This is important for young men in particular, who are less likely than other groups to seek out medical advice.

“With three more major dance parties coming up in Sydney between now and January 26, we must act now if we’re serious about making sure this tragedy isn’t repeated.”

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