No green light for Vic pill testing trial

Georgie Moore and Zena Chamas
The Greens are renewing a push for pill testing at music festivals in Victoria to avert drug deaths

A renewed bid to introduce pill testing in Victoria has been quickly stamped out by the state government.

The Greens are pushing for a 24-month trial to combat overdose deaths at music festivals to get underway by 2020.

The minor party on Monday also hoped there would be scope to extend the proposed two-year trial for a further four years.

"We know that most people choose to throw out their drugs when informed that they contain harmful substances," Greens MP Tim Read said.

As part of the trial, a fixed laboratory would also be created for year-round testing.

But state Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said pill testing would send the wrong message.

"We don't want to be giving young people a false sense of hope, that may well potentially have fatal consequences," she said.

"It is important that we safeguard our young people attending music festivals.

"We've got no intentions to change our views on this matter," she said.

Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien argued that sending the message that illicit drugs are okay is not the way to reduce use.

"You can die from an overdose from a pure tablet, just as you can from an adulterated tabled," he said.

Canberra's Groovin the Moo festival was Australia's first to allow pill testing in 2018. A second trial also ran earlier this year.

The Greens' bill, first flagged in February, is named in memory of 34-year-old Daniel Buccianti, who died at the Rainbow Serpent music festival after taking LSD in 2012.

It would create a mobile facility to test drugs at festivals, with amnesty bins available for party-goers to ditch the substances.

Mr Buccianti's mother, Adriana, supports the proposal and said no parent should have to go through what she did.

"But in the last 12 months, at least five other families have lost their child from drug overdoses," she said.