The designer of Australia's first pill testing program would "jump at the chance" to bring the service to Bendigo's Groovin the Moo.
Pill Testing Australia ran its program at GTM Canberra last weekend. It was the second time in two years PTA had set up at the Canberra festival.
There is no plans to include pill testing at this year's GTM Bendigo event.
Program designer and PTA clinical lead David Caldicott said the experience had been positive with 234 festival patrons taking part and 171 samples being tested.
"In the ACT last weekend for music festival with 25,000 people, we had no major overdoes and one person transferred to hospital as a precaution," he said. "That's different to the way festivals are panning out elsewhere.
"We also found seven rather unpleasant samples and all seven were abandoned by their potential consumers."
A spokesperson for Cattleyard Promotions who organise GTM said they were pleased to see pill testing return to their Canberra event and hoped other states would consider it.
No other stops on the GTM tour will feature pill testing.
"(Last year) Cattleyard Promotions facilitated the first pill testing trial in Australia at GTM Canberra," the spokesperson said. "We are pleased that we were able to facilitate pill testing once again at our Canberra event this year.
"Cattleyard strongly supports harm minimisation strategies. If other jurisdictions around the country would like to discuss running a trial in their state, we encourage them to seek consultation with us through their respective stakeholders."
Australia's national youth mental health foundation is also behind the idea of pill testing.
headspace executive director of clinical practice Vikki Ryall said anything that minimises potential harm to young people is positive.
"headspace is in support of pill testing trials to be expanded and further evaluated, particularly at music festivals such as Groovin' The Moo which is highly attended by young people," she said.
"We believe pill testing can create opportunities for young people at risk of harm from drug use to be given information, support, and importantly, to prevent them from using especially dangerous or contaminated substances.
"headspace encourages all Groovin The Moo attendees to have fun, but to keep their safety and the safety of their friends a priority."
People who take part in PTA's pill testing program first talk with peer educations and sign waivers. They then have their drugs tested by fully licensed chemists and learn about how their drugs are made and what they contain.
Data about the drugs tested is passed onto police but patrons are not surrendered for arrest by Pill Testing Australia.
Following the test, a formally qualified physician discusses the results with patrons with an emphasis on reducing consumption.
"The first thing everyone is told is the best way to not be hurt by drugs is not to use any drugs," Dr Caldicott said.
While 234 participants in a crowd of thousands might be a small sample, Dr Caldicott said the positive message spread quickly from those who took up the pill testing opportunity.
"We were changing the (drug taking) patterns of many people who were intending to consume," he said.
"So we might only talk 230 people, but those 230 went back to their friends in the crowd and advised them of their findings. Many then attend our tent or the first aid tent with concerns over their consumptions. So it had this multiplication effect."
Dr Caldicott said he was eager to see the PTA pill testing program expand.
"If all of sudden the government said do (GTM) Bendigo, we would be half tempted to try it. That's how keen we are," he said.
"But process of setting up pill testing includes meeting with health and police (representatives) and chatting about it.
"It is the ways of policing (drugs) which is important. The way we approach it is the law enforcement take charge of ensuring no drugs get into the festival. Of those drugs that make it in, we take charge in ensuring patrons are not consuming them and going to hospital."
A Victoria Police spokesperson said introducing pill testing to Victorian events was up to the state government but that police members would work with GTM organisers to ensure the safety of patrons.
"Ultimately the decision to allow pill testing is a matter for the State Government," the spokesperson said. "In Victoria it is currently unlawful to use, possess, cultivate or traffick illicit drugs in any form.
"Victoria Police works collaboratively with the health and education sectors to address drug use."
The police spokesperson said crowd behaviour had been generally good in past years.
"Police have been generally pleased with crowd behaviour at the Groovin the Moo Festival in Bendigo in the past," they said.
"Police will again be out in force at the festival this year in a bid to drive down criminal activity and any potential harm.
"We have been working closely with our partner agencies in health and education, the event organisers and the community to ensure preparations are in place to ensure the safety of those attending and reduce criminal activity."
Dr Caldicott said the success in Canberra was a result of the strong relationship between PTA and GTM organisers.
"It important to say we have built trust in both directions with Groovin the Moo," he said. "We love working with them and have absolute trust in the way GTM runs its festival.
"It would be a joy for us to potentially roll out (nationwide) through Groovin the Moo. We have form with them and know the people."
Festival promoters were keen to involve pill testing in their events, Dr Caldicott said.
"A vast majority of promoters in Australia would embrace pill testing but they because they are (slightly) fearful of the costs," he said. "Those who have come out in favour of pill testing outside the ACT tend to punished in variety of ways, so there is apprehension in the festival community.
"But privately, I have not met a promoter that wouldn't embrace it if they had the leeway to do so."
GTM Bendigo is on Saturday, May 4, at the Prince of Wales Showgrounds.
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