Green light for pill testing at Queensland festivals

Festival-goer holding pill. | Newsreel
Pill testing will be a feature at Queensland festivals. | iStock

Pill testing will be a regular feature at Queensland events with the State Government engaging two providers to deliver fixed site and event-based pill testing services over the next two years.

Queensland is the first state to support pill testing on an on-going basis, committing $1 million to the service which will allow festival goers to take substances they intend to use to a qualified chemist for testing.

In addition to testing substances, services will also provide health interventions delivered by trained health and harm reduction workers that aim to change a person’s behaviour and reduce their risk of harm.

The upcoming Rabbit Eats Lettuce festival will feature the first event-based pill testing service.

The service will be provided by Pill Testing Australia (PTA), one of two providers chosen by the Government.

The other provider is a partnership between the Queensland Injectors Health Network, The Loop Australia and the Queensland Injectors Voice for Advocacy and Action, which will deliver fixed site services at two locations in south-east Queensland, and at least one festival-based service in 2024.

PTA will deliver several festival-based services across 2024 and 2025, bringing their experience of operating services at festivals and a fixed-site service in Canberra.

The Government has also engaged University of Queensland’s Institute for Social Science Research to conduct an evaluation of the services and develop a state-wide monitoring framework for pill testing.

The evaluation will help inform continuous improvement and ongoing models of service and access.