NSW Government skips out on drug summit

THE Greens have chalked up the absence of any New South Wales Liberals or Nationals at a parliamentary drug summit as proof the Baird Government has its head in the sand on drug law reform.

The Canberra forum brought together federal and state MPs from across the country to hear from doctors and researchers about the best way forward in drug policy.

The NSW Government was conspicuously unrepresented.

"Sadly, while numerous Liberal federal and state colleagues of Mr Baird gathered in Canberra to participate in the summit, not one representative of the NSW Liberals and Nationals attended," Greens drugs spokeswoman Mehreen Fahruqi said.

The meeting coincided with Australia's biggest electronic music festival, Stereosonic, giving in-principle support to allowing pill testing on its premises.

Festival organisers Totem Onelove said it would happily provide a trial site "as long as all the key stakeholders sanctioned the initiative to ensure its effectiveness".

Back in Sydney, Premier Mike Baird shut down any hint the government would consider easing drug possession laws to let trials go ahead.

"What they are asking us to do is to allow illegal drugs," he told Channel 7's Sunrise.

"Don't do it. That is the best form of safety you can do.

"Don't take the pills and you'll be fine."

Emergency doctor and senior university lecturer Dr David Caldicott and Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation president Dr Alex Wodak this week announced they were willing to flout the law to carry out guerrilla pill testing at festivals.

They planned to launch a crowdfunding campaign to pay for a mobile drug testing laboratory staffed by forensic toxicologists and medical experts to visit festivals and run tests on punters' drugs.

- APN NEWSDESK



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