Pill‐testing as a harm reduction strategy: time to have the conversation

Jody Morgan and Alison Jones
Med J Aust 2019; 211 (10): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50385
Published online: 4 November 2019

Despite harm reduction being a pillar of the Australian National Drug Strategy, current governments are shying away from pill‐testing as a viable strategy

The recent deaths of five young Australians at music festivals has once again placed pill‐testing at the forefront of media discussion. Rates of drug use are significantly higher among certain subpopulations, with dance music nightclubs and music festivals being examples of places with elevated levels of drug use.1,2 Of 642 surveyed attendees at an Australian music festival, 73.4% reported drug taking compared with 28.2% of the general young adult population, and for 3,4‐methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; commonly known as ecstasy) use, this was as high as 59.8% compared with 7.0%.2 MDMA is increasingly available in powder and crystal forms with street names of molly, mandy and crystal, meaning some users do not associate the drug with ecstasy.

  • Jody Morgan1,2
  • Alison Jones1,2

  • 1 University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW
  • 2 Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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