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Senate says Government should cease use of sniffer dogs at festivals

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 31 Aug 2016

The Senate is calling on the Turnbull Government to implement pill testing, more supervised injecting rooms and cease the use of sniffer dogs at festivals.

On International Overdose Awareness Day, which commemorates all those who have died or been seriously injured due to drug overdose, a Greens motion has passed the Senate without objection from Labor or Liberal Senators.

"Six people in Australia die each day due to overdose. It's devastating for families, it's entirely preventable, and our country's politicians need to find the courage to do what they can to prevent further harm," said Greens Leader Dr Richard Di Natale, a former drug and alcohol clinician.

"Needle and syringe programs, supervised injecting rooms, pill testing - these are all evidence-based harm reduction measures that the government should resource.

"I'm pleased the Senate has agreed that the Federal Government should act. Now it's time for Liberal and Labor governments to back these measures in every state and territory."

The Greens motion that passed this afternoon read:

That the Senate -
(a) notes that:
(i) today is the 15th annual International Overdose Awareness Day, commemorating all those who have died or been seriously injured due to drug overdose, and
(ii) six people lose their lives to preventable overdose in Australia each day; and
(b) calls on the Government to address the rising rates of harm associated with drug use by implementing and appropriately resourcing evidence-based harm reduction policies, including:
(i) greater access to needle and syringe programs across the country with an urgent roll-out of trials inside prisons,
(ii) expanded access to medically supervised injecting facilities across Australia,
(iii) promoting awareness of the life-saving opioid reversal drug Naloxone, and highlighting its availability over the counter in pharmacies, and
(iv) working with state and territory governments to cease the use of drug sniffer dogs at festivals and urgently introduce trials of pill testing for the upcoming festivals season.

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