Festival Pill Testing Trial Uncovers Two 'Deadly' Pills

At Groovin The Moo in Canberra

Festival Pill Testing Trial Uncovers Two 'Deadly' Pills Twitter - Faustina Agolley

The results are in after Australia's first legal pill testing trial at Groovin The Moo festival in Canberra over the weekend, with two "deadly" pills discovered.

The trial was a collaboration between Safety and Testing Advisory Service at Festivals and Events (STA-SAFE) with the ACT government and police, with thousands attending the music festival held at the University of Canberra.

According to results, 128 attendees had polls tested, ranging in age from 17 to 40.

The drugs were submitted for testing at a medical tent, which had doctors and chemists on hand to analyse the contents of the drugs.

A small sample is scraped from the surface of the pill and analysed, with the results given back to the festival-goer, with them free to decide whether they still wish to take the drug or want to bin it.

STA-SAFE member and emergency doctor Dr David Caldicott said the amnesty bin was used by five people, with 10 to 20 per cent of others also considering throwing out their pills after having them tested.

From the testing, two pills were discovered which contained N-Ethylpentylone, which has been linked to a large number of overdoses and deaths in Europe.


The ACT Police did not enter the testing tent at any time during the festival, with authorities not "actively targeting" the area as it was part of a harm minimisation strategy.

"While ACT Policing does not condone the use of illicit drugs, we do support the harm minimisation strategies such as the decision to provide an accomodating environment for pill testing," a police spokesperson said.

"This trial is a breakthrough for harm reduction," ACT Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris said in a Facebook post.

"It does not condone illicit drug use, but for the first time people will have access to information they wouldn’t otherwise have to make better decisions to reduce harm to their health."