Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — I rise to oppose the government's recent announcement that they will allow police to stop and search people for no reason at music festivals. It announced it with a drop to the Herald Sun, which published an article headed 'Drug party blitz' that referred to a 'zero-tolerance crackdown', whilst at the same time ruling out a proven and effective method of reducing harm, which is a pill-testing and reporting regime in Victoria.
There has been an increase in the supply of synthetic drugs in our community — drugs that are made to mimic the effect of other recreational drugs but are made from more dangerous and cheaper substances. These circumstances led to the deaths and hospitalisations of a number of individuals earlier this year when they took what they thought was MDMA but was the much more dangerous drug NBOMe. This occurred in Chapel Street in the Prahran electorate.
A pill-testing and reporting regime in Victoria will inform people of what is in their drugs before they take them. In countries where pill testing occurs, it has been shown that when people are informed of highly dangerous substances in their drugs they choose not to take them. This government's approach is to simply continue on with its failed law and order, just-say-no policies rather than treating this as a health issue. Its approach is designed for a Herald Sun headline and will result riskier drug taking, such as people taking all their drugs at once, and it will put lives at risk.