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A Discussion about Illicit Drug Testing.

The determined self-destructive madness continues…

By Staff Writer: Harvey Fewings.

As a general rule, we live our lives, in a democracy, according to the laws of the land, the common sense of the community in determining what is, or is not, morally acceptable to the majority of our citizens and the economic laws of supply and demand, which are the market forces which define the price, or the cost, of the items, goods and chattels which we need for daily living.

And, there has always been, on the fringe of our communities, citizens who just do not conform to the norms of our world. Citizens who, for whatever their reasons, are unable or unwilling to adjust to the way in which the majority of our people live. These are not bad citizens. These are not unworthy citizens. Many of them produce beautiful artistic compilations – music, sculptures, paintings and buildings.

Now there is no need for anyone to become outraged, offended or walk jerkily around the room seething with uncontrolled anger at the next assumption of mine. As you read this, you will see that I am expressing an opinion – not delivering a fact!

More likely than not, it will be these people who will use and experiment with alcohol and mind-altering drugs as a part of their desire to push boundaries, challenge the norms and forge their specific way along their life’s journey. Good luck to them! Broadly speaking they do no harm and leave us with their legacies of how they lived their challenging lives and their splendid long-lasting artistic endeavours.

Our community develops and evolves regularly; it is dynamic which is good for us all. Why? Well, if we had not changed from our previous standards, we would still be drowning witches and pelting poor buggers in the marketplaces with dodgy vegetables.

In the last decade, however, a dark shadow has been dogging our tracks as we move along our journey. Mind-altering, chemically manufactured drugs, in the form of pills, have flooded into our communities – mostly into the venues frequented by our young people, nightclubs, music festivals and various other places where young people gather. I am referring to an age group of say, 18 years of age to 35 years of age, with a specific focus on those who are progressing through their twenties!

Once again, no need for alarm, this is not a general condemnation of all twenty-year-olds. A calm assessment of the obvious will establish that it is this age group which frequents the venues mentioned above, and, in particular, make up the majority of those who attend the mass, outdoor music festivals.

So, we shall focus on these festivals.

As we focus we are aware that these mind-altering substances, appearing as illicit drugs in the form of pills have been declared illegal in our society – to possess them, to sell them to others and to drive with them in your system is prohibited by law – laws which have been legislated in our Federal and State Parliaments.

These laws have broad-based general support in our communities, and our Police Forces strictly enforce them because these drugs/pills are dangerous, causing physical distress and death.

We all know, and I don’t have to detail, that it is these mass music venues which have become the focus of media attention in recent times with the drug-induced deaths and collapses of young people who require urgent medical care to save their lives.

I have written of this in the previous edition of this newspaper.

After that publication, more attention has been focused on this matter with more deaths and collapses at mass music festivals and the growing pressure from some medical and community health groups to institute ‘ illicit pill testing ‘ facilities at these venues so that people intending to consume these poisons can find out what is in them.

So, the matter remains one of public discussion.

And, I also outlined the broad detail of the ‘ pill testing ‘ procedures; a system which, if viewed objectively, is well planned and well executed. It is a system which does not embrace the use of drugs/pills/smoke etc. The method in place, as I understand it, deliberately mitigates against the use of these substances.

It is the very existence of these facilities, not the systems they use, which creates the problem.

I wonder why we do not ask the question why? Why is it, that those young people, who are generally not fools, I mean they would not intentionally drink weed killer, are drawn to consume this poisonous rubbish in such numbers, what is it that attracts them?

I am aware of the idea that “ it makes them feel better “, but does it? I don’t know because I have never taken one, but knowing the dangers of addiction and health threats why put the bloody things into your body?

I also know that this is a dumb question because there is no sensible answer. They take them because they want to and because they can! And it appears as if no public education program is going to make any difference. They are just going to keep on taking them, despite the risks, despite public health, despite the sheer bloody irresponsible stupidity of their actions.

There is, publicly available, much sensible material about why young people take drugs, and I am not going to explore that aspect of this discussion any further.

But I will comment upon the effects of the media and social campaign to introduce ‘ pill testing ‘ at the large festival venues.

Firstly, the latest death and ‘ incidents ‘ occurred at a festival [ odd description for a noisy piss up! ] in New South Wales. From media reports, which were corroborated by medical eyewitnesses, drug pushers inside the venues were claiming that their brand of drug poison had been “ medically tested as safe “.

Where there is demand, there will be supply as sure as guns are iron. So, we see market forces applying in this trade of poisonous rubbish. The dealers quickly latched onto the idea of ‘ medical testing ‘ thus encouraging people to buy and consume because their poison was safe.

In my opinion, logic points quite clearly to the fact that the ‘ pill testing ‘ idea has been grasped by the drug dealers and used to promote their products, thus encouraging the use of illicit drugs.

Secondly, all Police Commissioners in Australia have roundly condemned the idea of ‘ pill testing‘. Their reasons for doing so are apparent; these are the men and women responsible for the enforcement of the laws of the land and the existence of ‘ pill testing ‘ facilities at these festivals gives tacit approval to the possession and consumption of illicit drugs.

And like it or not – that is the perception of most people, a perception that becomes a reality in the minds of young people.

“ The Govt. has established pill testing centres; therefore it is OK to take these drugs “.

In my opinion, the establishment of ‘ pill testing ‘ facilities at these venues makes the task of the Police immeasurably more difficult, not too mention the medical staff, ambulances and social workers involved in cleaning up the medical mess.

Thirdly, and I mentioned this before as well. Why the music venues? Why not all the other places where this poison is consumed, nightclubs, beach parties, regular alcohol venues, I mean the logic can be extended to equipping each Police Patrol vehicle with a spectrometer for mobile drug testing!!

Which logic, of course, is ridiculous.

Therefore, in my opinion, the idea of ‘ pill testing ‘ at public venues is a bad idea. It places an impossible burden upon our law enforcement agencies and our front line medical staff, and it gives tacit approval, by the Government of the day, that is OK to take illicit drugs.

It is not OK to take illicit drugs;and that, is simply, that !

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