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“An important step forward”: RACGP welcomes NSW drug checking pilot

Royal Australian College of GPs 2 mins read

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has welcomed news of New South Wales first drug checking pilot program.

It comes following reports of the groundbreaking pilot being launched at Sydney’s Medically Supervised Injecting Centre. Running one day a week for approximately four months, it will allow people who are registered to use the service to test their substances and find out what they contain.

Recently, the College  applauded Queensland becoming the first Australian jurisdiction to institute an ongoing drug testing or “pill testing” service, and urged other states and territories to follow suit.

RACGP NSW and ACT Chair, Dr Rebekah Hoffman, welcomed the move.

“This is an important step forward,” she said.

“Under this pilot, those who present with their drugs will be given an analysis of the substance, including what mix of drugs is actually present, as well as targeted harm reduction advice. The samples will then be sent for further confirmatory testing of the drug makeup.

“Drug checking, including pill testing, saves lives. People can find out what substances the drugs they have been sold contain without fear of law enforcement action. Drug testing services also allow trained staff to talk candidly to them free of judgment about why they are using drugs and explain the many risks involved. Many people who submit drugs for testing discard them when they find out what they contain.”

Dr Hoffman called on the NSW Government to show leadership ahead of this year’s planned Drug Summit.

“We must go much further,” she said.

“I call on the state Government to follow the lead of the ACT and Queensland and introduce drug testing services featuring fixed and mobile sites across New South Wales. This is not about condoning drug use; these services constitute a sensible harm reduction measure proven around the world to save lives. Illicit drug use does happen, and we should act to minimise the harm and keep people as safe as possible, including young people with their whole lives ahead of them.

“So, my question to the Government is a simple one – what are you waiting for? We need action, how many more senseless deaths need to happen before widespread drug testing services are available across our state. An overdose could happen to someone in your life, whether it’s your son, daughter, or partner. This does not just happen to ‘other people’, and every person’s life matters.”

~ENDS

RACGP spokespeople are available for interview.


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About the RACGP

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is the peak representative organisation for general practice, the backbone of Australia’s health system. We set the standards for general practice, facilitate lifelong learning for GPs, connect the general practice community, and advocate for better health and wellbeing for all Australians.

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