Berejiklian on collision course with NSW coroner over pill testing at music festivals

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is yet to show signs of changing her hardline stance on drug use at music festivals despite a draft coroner’s report recommending that the use of drugs at festivals should be decriminalised and the use of police sniffer dogs be wound down.

One of the recommendations in the five-page report by state coroner Harriet Grahame included “decriminalising personal use of drugs as a mechanism to reduce the harm caused by drug use”.

Another recommendation called on the model of policing music festivals to be changed to remove drug detection dogs.

“Given the evidence of a link between the use of drug dogs and more harmful means of consumption (including double dosing, pre-loading, swallowing drugs and insertion in a vaginal or anal cavity),” the report said.

The recommendations are set to put the coroner on a collision course with the NSW Government and senior police who are pushing a zero tolerance on drugs policy.

Speaking to the ABC, Berejiklian said the government “will not go down that path because we feel very strongly that it sends a wrong message”.

“It actually gives people a false sense of security because how one person reacts to a drug is very different to another person reacting and unfortunately we have seen people lose their lives by taking what is a pure substance, a pure drug,” she said.

“What pill testing does is pick up on irregularities, however pill testing doesn’t protect people from the actual substance itself and that’s what concerns us as a Government.”