NSW Coroner Recommends Pill Testing

A coroner has recommended pill testing be conducted in NSW, along with the decriminalisation of personal drug use and the scrapping of sniffer dogs at music festivals.

The NSW Police Commissioner has strongly opposed the suggestion.

In addition to the pro/anti pill testing debate it raised the question of whether the body that enforces the law should be so publicly involved in a civilian policy decision.

Thoughts on both topics.

Comments

  • +36 votes

    Just wear a condom if unsure of the pill

  • +15 votes

    I personally think, drugs should be de-criminalised, as if it was i'm sure the there would be a decline in use. Let people decide what they want to do with their own bodies - though then the morally problamatic problem will come, should the legalised drug users recieve the same public health care?

    Also vote for pedro!

    • +10 votes

      Yassssss!

      (That was for the shoutout)

    • -7 votes

      Sure, so long as we're not paying for their medical treatment and they're excluded from Medicare and subsidised healthcare.

      Let them do what they want to their bodies, also let them bear the consequences.

      • +104 votes

        Perhaps we should include alcohol and tobacco to the exclusion. We could add sugar, processed meats or anything else the moral police decide?

        We should also refuse help to people who choose to live in bushfire prone areas or people bitten by sharks, because you know, let people do what they want but bear the consequences

        • -73 votes

          I've no desire to argue with someone who uses "yassss" unironically lol.

        • -5 votes

          Well, tobacco, alcohol and sugar might kill you slowly. Drugs can kill you straight away. But yeah, it is your body, you can do whatever you want as long as you don't leech of medicare.

          • +19 votes

            @rave75: I think you've argued against your own point here. If drugs can kill you straight away, what cost are you to medicare? on the other hand, alcohol, tobacco and sugar as you said kill you slowly which would cost medicare more over the long term.

            • -11 votes

              @Duram: I said might kill you, I know some people who lives to till 80+ despite being a smoker and drinker. Meanwhile drug CAN kill you. Better of dead so medicare cost in that case is zero. If people want to have drug test in festival, why not the festival organisers pay for it which then charge more for the tickets? Or even better charge the people directly who asked for their drugs to be tested.

              Same thing with people who pay for their alcohol and cigarettes.

          • +2 votes

            @rave75: Alcohol can kill you straight away dummy. Ever heard of stomach pumps? It literally is more lethal than MDMA, meth and probably anything else you'd risk finding in a pill.

            • +1 vote

              @vindictus: I've heard of stomach pumps. What quantity of alcohol does one have to consume to require emergency medical attention with such a treatment? How about to induce death? Straight away? Sounds more like the person would be drowning from the liquid quantity as "straight away" sounds like the fastest blood absorption in medical history given the average is anywhere from 30 minutes all the way up to 2 hours — very much not "straight away".

              What quantity of Heroin is required to kill you? Do dealers sell it in low purity but high in quantity? Or high purity and low in quantity? How much does it cost? Is it cheaper, easier and quicker kill yourself with Heroin with the average purchased quantity than it is with alcohol?

              This is a fun argument.

            •  

              @vindictus: LOL. more lethal than MDMA & meth. Who is the dumb here? If you are talking about taking a gallon of scotch, yes of course it can kill you. Even water can kill you straight away if you drank too much. Someone actually died from water drinking competition from a radio show before.

        • -1 vote

          Well, historically those have been legalised, so the government have accepted that behaviour for a long time now. It's hard to just cut out what's a legitimised, cultural non stigmatised ritual (even harder to cut out addiction but that's another story).

          Either way, just because arguably undeserved help exists currently, doesn't mean it should continue, on the public purse. Pretty sure hospitals are busy enough already.

          Ironically, isn't what you're saying "moral high horse" stuff too? That's such a redundant comment here. By telling people that public purse/healthcare system needs to medically cater for healthcare for all, regardless of contributory negligence levels? It's a moral argument at the end of the day, the way I see it.

          And if you think about it as everyone paying tax being entitled to healthcare, should that then exclude the unemployed? The disabled? Elderly?

          The bushfire analogy is just poor. That's akin to Joe Bloggs looking up at the sky in a ghetto neighbourhood, with their mouth open, and a pills falling into their mouth they happened to swallow. In that case, yes, I'd say Joe would be very eligible for subsidised healthcare 😉.

          I believe there actually is already stuff in place for contributory negligence, which decreasing your medical subsidy. Don't think it spans through all healthcare though. You might want to lobby against that 😊.

      • +18 votes

        So people who work and pay Australia's high taxes (which, y'know, goes toward Medicare) who also use drugs shouldn't get access to our wonderful socialised healthcare because MoRaLs? That's what the taxes are for, bruv. You can't pick and choose who to help depending on a citizens moral standing, otherwise we're a few steps away from how they do things in China, yeah?

        • -12 votes

          You can't pick and choose who to help depending on a citizens moral standing

          Morals and, you know, legally because these are illicit drugs.

          • +12 votes

            @HighAndDry:

            I personally think, drugs should be de-criminalised

            Which you then agreed:

            Sure, so long as we're not paying for their medical treatment and they're excluded from Medicare and subsidised healthcare.

            which then completely contradicts this statement:

            you know, legally because these are illicit drugs.

            It's like you can't figure out how else to demonise people who use (often recreational) drugs.

            • -3 votes

              @ThithLord: There's no chance we'll exclude them from the public healthcare system, you already have people comparing drug users with people who live near the bush.

              • +16 votes

                @HighAndDry: You can choose to bury your head in the sand. Zero tolerance has failed. It’s time to try something else. Are you so closed minded to not try something else?

                You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again and hope for a different outcome. Even you’re smarter than that… just ;-)

          • +1 vote

            @HighAndDry: Are you on drugs because you make no sense whatsoever. You are just sprouting the same outdated and ineffective rhetoric that has been thrown at us for years. Time to open your eyes and start thinking for yourself without the brainwashing.

        •  

          You don't have to pick and choose - for any illnesses directly related to a choice rather than unfortunate circumstance they could be forced to pay for it. Otherwise it's a bit like expecting your insurance to pay out when you set fire to your own house?

          I see no reason why this wouldn't also apply to alcohol and tobacco - excessive drinking causing liver failure that you have to pay for etc. We already have pretty well-defined amounts for what constitutes excessive - where's the issue?

          • +2 votes

            @sakurashu: Because, Sakurashu, we're then living in a very Utopian society that is absolutely impossible to maintain, and frankly, ridiculous.

            •  

              @ThithLord: How is that utopian? I would still choose to drink - I'd just be royally screwed if I got an illness because of it. It would be easier to argue that it might actually be worse than our current society because it could remove more of the safety net in society for those already worse off?

              •  

                @sakurashu: This is incredibly naive. Do you have any idea of the work hours that would be pissed up the wall trying to determine whether an illness is related to a lifestyle choice? Sometimes it might be clear but with things like alcohol or cigarettes, it's basically impossible to truly know if that's what caused the illness.

                •  

                  @vindictus: Work hours? Just throw some AI at it, easy. Welcome to the future

                  •  

                    @sakurashu: Yet we don't live in a world where machine learning has been applied in this way. The whole automation approach still relies on our data, and if our data can't reliably discern the difference between 'accidental' illnesses and 'deserved' ones (which it can't and probably never will) then there's no point discussing this

                    •  

                      @vindictus: Near enough is good enough or do you naievely think everyone who is convicted of a crime is guilty? You've obviously never worked with some of the large data sets companies have or you'd realise that plenty of companies already have enough data to reliably discern something like this - where reliably is obviously not 100%

                      •  

                        @sakurashu: Companies having large datasets is irrelevant. I work with data. You can't collect data on the things that matter to determining whether someone 'deserves' their illness or not. Even if you could somehow catelogue all of their personal choices in their lives, you can't account for their genetics or just the pure luck involved in some super rare cancers and diseases. ML can and does work in diagnosing but determining this is a whole different thing

                        •  

                          @vindictus: It's not about always having it right? So someone who drinks for 30 years gets liver cancer and they might have gotten it anyway even they hadn't drunk for 30 years and they pay for it? That's just society rewarding the behaviour we want to encourage - esentially the same thing as taxing alcohol or cigarettes as heavily as we do?

                          We collect the data on their purchasing habits and actions, we collect the data on their medical health - voila

      • +13 votes

        Don't worry, we pay for it already through the amount of time and money wasted from locking up and processing drug users via the legal system.

        • -1 vote

          I'd rather that than them breaking into my house. Do you complain about the law enforcement expenses for burglars, speeding motorists, etc?

          • +17 votes

            @HighAndDry: You’re now comparing use of pills at music festivals to people breaking into your house. Irrelevant. It’s like saying corporate coke fiends are breaking into your house. We know both to be untrue.

            •  

              @Vote for Pedro: Not completely irrelevant. Regardless of your views towards drugs, you have to admit that drugs are often associated with crimes. Let's not discuss the cause and effect here, let's just admit that there is a connection, and it's not just a perception.

              • +7 votes

                @Bad Company: So kinda like the Catholic church is associated with child abuse?

              • +5 votes

                @Bad Company: I think you may be confusing Causation and Correlation. People who break the law and take drugs may be more likely to break the law in other ways, however, taking drugs does not then cause you to steal something, for example.

                Also, you are also making the link between drugs and crime, where the much more likely link is crime and crime

                • +1 vote

                  @Burnsy: Like I said, there's no need to discuss the cause and effect but is it so hard for you to admit there's a link between drugs and crime?

                  I'm not saying crimes cause drug taking or drugs cause someone to become a criminal, I'm simply stating a fact that there's seems to be a strong connection between drug abuse and being a low life.

                •  

                  @Burnsy: if you were heavily addicted to something and it mattered to you more than anything else, you'd sell your own mother to get more, I'm sure you'd have no problem breaking into peoples homes or robbing people to get it.

                  I dont think if drugs were legal people would suddenly think, "oh im not breaking the law with my addiction, i shouldnt break into homes to fuel it"

            • +6 votes

              @Vote for Pedro: I'm not (or ever have been) a recreational drug user because it's likely it would become "unrecreational" but I know a lot of people that like party pills and coke. None of them are potential burglars. If you lined them up in their corporate wear you wouldn't have a clue.

              I think any harm minimisation measures would be a good thing.

              Currently, people see all the police at the entrance to the festival, panic and take the pills that were supposed to last 16 hours all in one hit. Then the poop hits the fan.

              • +3 votes

                @brad1-8tsi:

                Currently, people see all the police at the entrance to the festival, panic and take the pills that were supposed to last 16 hours all in one hit. Then the poop hits the fan.

                I know it's politically incorrect to advocate Social Darwinism but, this.

                •  

                  @Bad Company: So if the unhealthy 120kg male survives a pill overdose and the fit and active 70kg female doesn't, Darwinism?

                  • +1 vote

                    @Gringoesai: What are you trying to say, that it's unnatural and un-Darwin for male and female bodies to have different tolerances?

                    •  

                      @Bad Company: No, as per Darwinism the fat male should already be dead and the female lives. Having drugs as a variable for 'social Darwinism' is foolish in my opinion. As others have said, let's cite driving, swimming, eating etc if you want to make mincemeat of Darwinism. You can OD by drinking too much water - do we factor that in as 'Social Darwinism' as well? Stupid term.

                      • +1 vote

                        @Gringoesai:

                        No, as per Darwinism the fat male should already be dead and the female lives. Having drugs as a variable for 'social Darwinism' is foolish in my opinion. As others have said, let's cite driving, swimming, eating etc if you want to make mincemeat of Darwinism. You can OD by drinking too much water - do we factor that in as 'Social Darwinism' as well? Stupid term.

                        Your understanding of Darwinism is simply not correct.

                        • +2 votes

                          @Bad Company: No, you are somehow bewildered by throwing crap statements out like 'social darwinism'. In its simplest form, it means survival of the fittest hence why the fat man dies and the female lives. I'm not sure how much more simple of an example I can make.

                          •  

                            @Gringoesai: I think you took "survival of the fittest" a bit too literally lol.

                            Not to mention Darwinism isn't guaranteed on an individual level.

                            Like I said, your understanding of Darwinism is not correct.

                •  

                  @Bad Company: It's not 'natural' selection if you're putting cops in the way. I'm all for natural selection if it's actually natural. At least then people would be free to implement their own harm reduction strategies, e.g. dosing properly and drinking adequate water.

                  • +1 vote

                    @chillin222: As a society we are much beyond natural selection - the amount of people who would have naturally died out of the population is probably bordering on over 50% if not for modern intervention.

                    so lets not bring that into the conversation.

                    •  

                      @Kill Joy: Agreed, people that throw it around have no idea of the fundamental meaning. Leave it to animal breeding where it is active and accurate.

                    • +1 vote

                      @Kill Joy:

                      As a society we are much beyond natural selection - the amount of people who would have naturally died out of the population is probably bordering on over 50% if not for modern intervention.

                      So in other words, human intervention is only partially effective, which means natural selection is still relevant?

                      I'm not saying drug overdoser should just be left to die, but clearly whoever pops 16 hours of worth of pill in one mouthful is doomed and no amount of human intervention can help them.

                      • +2 votes

                        @Bad Company: If they take all the pills because there's a plethora of cops at the gate and they're scared then yeah maybe I think we can do something to stop that?

                        •  

                          @vindictus:

                          If they take all the pills because there's a plethora of cops at the gate and they're scared then yeah maybe I think we can do something to stop that?

                          Yeah, like not doing drugs? At least realise that there will be cops at the music festival so do drugs elsewhere?

                          Most people are already sensible enough to do this.

                          Sure, human lives are worth saving, but what if the cost of saving a few idiots (the kind that pops all the pills and get killed) is the death of some less idiotic idiots?

                          The problem with harm minimisation schemes such as pill testing is, it can be interpreted as encouraging drug taking, therefore the more sensible (but still idiotic) people who previously stayed away from drugs because of the police presence, may start taking drugs.

                          It's not an unreasonable assumption, is it?

                  • +1 vote

                    @chillin222:

                    It's not 'natural' selection if you're putting cops in the way. I'm all for natural selection if it's actually natural. At least then people would be free to implement their own harm reduction strategies, e.g. dosing properly and drinking adequate water.

                    Regardless of context, whether we are cave men or highly evolved modern humans living in a functional society, natural selection is very much relevant.

                    Of course there are going to be human interventions. For example, providing medical treatment to drug overdose patients. Don't tell me you're against this too.

      • +4 votes

        Why not tax it like cigarettes and use that for the funding?

      • +5 votes

        have you ever been to westmead hospital? I was incarcerated there for a few weeks. When I could walk I liked to sit outside in the sun. The amount of overweight, purple footed smoking inpatients was astounding. People with drips, oxygen masks and in wheelchairs smoking just outside the doors…we already have a two teared system, why make it worse "you eat meat — less health care for you"? I suppose what im saying there will always be those who don't give a shit and drugs may kill them either way - Pill testing is to save young people from dying, not drug addicts.

      • +4 votes

        Way too slippery if you start denying people public healthcare based on their lifestyle decisions, and I don't think denying them healthcare (because realistically the people you're denying won't afford it privately), I don't think you're likely to make the rest of society a better place. Desperation breeds more crime.

        As soon as you start declining it for one vice, the argument will be for why not another. First you come for the druggies, then the smokers, then the drunks, then the fatties, then the diabetics, then the fans of extreme sports… etc.

        Public health is there to be universal. I don't want to work in a system where we turn away the sick for any reason.

        Time and time again, we learn that you can't punish people out of drug abuse. Your solution would just make the country worse, less productive, and probably not actually save us any money.

      •  

        Why, when you could tax them like cigarettes and alcohol and use that money to fund those programs.

      • +1 vote

        Agree exactly. They can take pills and risk death, doesn't bother me at all.
        What bothers me is that most crime is drug related. And I don't appreciate having them in the emergency department.

      • +1 vote

        If you did a bit of research you would know that the cost of smokers on the healthcare system is far less than the revenue the state and federal governments generate in tax. A senator even thanked smokers for the 8 billion in profit they made in 2014.

        •  

          I can see it might be possible to calculate the cost of smoker medical issues, but are they actually properly calculating the lost productivity as a result of these illnesses from smoking when they look at the tax profit?

          • +1 vote

            @Kill Joy: We could also attempt to quantify the extent of eating suspect kebabs and curries on productivity in the economy.

            But in all seriousness, "the total cost of productivity loss attributable to smoking was estimated to be $A388 billion over the working life of the current Australian population."

            The study followed australians from 20-69 and assumed that the working age was 49 years.

            If the government makes roughly $14 billion each year for 49 years that would equate to $686 billion AUD. The government has made $298 billion in profit in todays money.

            Smokers are paying above and beyond their own way so stick that in your pipe and smoke it

            https://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/28/3/297

    • +1 vote

      According to this train of thought car drivers and pedestrians should pay more tax because they are at greater risk of being in an accident. Rock fishing should be completely illegal.

    • +3 votes

      If prescription drugs were made illegal and they were manufactured and sold the way illegal drugs are, solid law-abiding citizens would be dropping like flies.

      • +2 votes

        Yes, because prescription drugs and recreational drugs are different.

        You might as well say "if flour were made illegal…"

        No sh**. They're different things.

        • +1 vote

          High&Dry, a big pharma shill. Got it.

        • +4 votes

          List of Legal Drugs:
          Methamphetamine - Desoxyn
          Amphetamine - Dexedrine, Adderall
          Cannabis - Assorted products
          Cocaine - Cocaine Solution
          Opioids - Codeine, Morphine, Fentanyl, etc
          Alcohol
          Tobacco
          Etc

          List of Illegal Drugs:
          Methamphetamine - Desoxyn
          Amphetamine - Dexedrine, Adderall
          Cannabis - Assorted products
          Cocaine - Cocaine Solution
          Opioids - Codeine, Morphine, Fentanyl, etc
          LSD
          Psilocybin
          Alcohol (depending on location)
          Etc

          The difference is the legality, access, often quality, and social stigma often based on factually incorrect propaganda. Don't pretend it's something it isn't.

          You could say "if flour were made illegal…"

          You could not say "if selling intoxicants to kids/driving under the influence/larceny were legal…"

          • +3 votes

            @Shmexalicious: Sorry to interject.

            You're referring to legal and illegal where the term is controlled.

            The difference is the legality, access, often quality, and social stigma

            It applies to everyone universally.

            You'll have to elaborate on quality. Quality of pharmaceuticals are different between groups or illegally circulated drugs have more consistent quality?

            Social stigma cannot be quantified hence shouldn't be used as an argument either way. If I claimed that it is a stigma against me to live next to BigMeth, you would need to invalidate my feelings.

            It isn't legal or illegal based on arbitrarily defined lines. It is controlled for everyone.

            The alcohol ban is one I am against but in many of these places, the ban is "self imposed". These are communities that have advocated for their independent rule. Unless you wish first to deny a group of their authority (whether rightfully or otherwise), one cannot shoot straight for the policy.

          • +1 vote

            @Shmexalicious: cos meth users just need to cure their cold….

          •  

            @Shmexalicious: https://newatlas.com/science/psilocybin-major-depression-mdd...

            [November 24, 2019] The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted psilocybin therapy a Breakthrough Therapy designation for the second time in a year, this time with a view on accelerating trials testing its efficacy treating major depressive disorder (MDD).

      • +1 vote

        Like opioid pain killers have pretty-much been?

    • +1 vote

      Yes, we ought to have a free market on all psychactives (all pharmaceuticals for that matter). Just as I can go to the supermarket and purchase coffee, energy drinks, antacids & aspirin, I ought to be able to go to the supermarket and purchase anti-fungal pills , corticosteroid cream, growth hormone, dexamphetamine, barbiturates, LSD, methadone, oxycodone and so on. A free market on pharmaceuticals (both human and veterinary) wouldn't put physicians and vets out of a job any more than Bunnings has put tradesmen out of a job.

      People justify abortion with the phrase, "My body I can do with it what I want" (60% + support for abortion on demand), yet we refuse to apply the logic to substance use.

      Why is it a heinous offence to ingest a pop a pill containing methylenedioxymethamphetamine(ecstacy), ingest a hallucinogenic mushroom, smoke cannabis, inject fentanyl? You aren't harming anyone when you do so; it is a victimless crime.

      Ultimately, what it comes down to is a totalitarian nanny state wanting to control all aspects of our lives.

      People use psychoactives to a) make them feel better (eg narcotics for people with depressive or anxiety disorders) b) make them better able to function (stimulants for ADDers and students studying for exams) c) to change their perspective on the world (eg hallucinogens). Why are any of these motivations being branded as EVIL? Psychoactives aren't just recreational; they also have valid therapeutic uses (narcotics & marijuana for pain, dexamphetamine/methamphetamine for ADD, disscociation anaesthetics like ketamine for depression, and hallucinogens like psilocybin are being trialled for a variety of psychiatric maladies (they bind with high affinity to Serotonin 2 receptors). Psychoactives interact with systems present in the brains of mammals, systems that are essential for us to function properly (we even have 'pot' receptors and endogenous pot aka anandamide). When we use psychoactives all we are doing is mimicking the activity of compouds already present in our CNS.

      • +1 vote

        How many pills of LSD may someone take before they are over the limit to drive?

      • +1 vote

        Have you not seen the damage ice does to people?

      • +1 vote

        This is going too far down the pro-drug hole. Not all drugs are equal, it's completely disingenuous to compare mushrooms to fentanyl, one is incredibly benign, anti-addictive, and impossible to OD on while the other takes literal mg to kill you, is incredibly addictive and doesn't even provide a good trip.

        Legalise some psychoactives with proven low harm profiles (just about every serotonergic psychedelic, possibly MDMA, etc). Leave the rest (including dexies) as controlled substances.

    • +2 votes

      As a medico, I'm sure you're well versed in the separation of legal vs ethical. It took my a long time to grasp and many colleagues still haven't so ignore the difference of you're not comfortable separating the two.

      The legal challenge is universal application of the law. What drugs should be decriminalized and if decriminalized, does that mean decriminalization of ownership, retail, distribution and/or manufacturing. With any industry, the lines between all these are difficult to draw, hence a black economy exist where taxation is difficult - the law simply cannot observe the transition between all parties and that is made harder by the existence of cash.

      It is my current opinion that the matter has equally as many legal loopholes either way.

      Morally, the challenge is discrimination. As you say, this places a measurable burden on the public because we have socialized medicine.

      I say that the pragmatic approach is first to consider which is a bigger issue, to continue attempting to medical services without discrimination universally, or to revise the level of discrimination/arbitration that currently exist in the system.

      The big ass paradox elephant in the room is that socialized medicine places a burden on practically everyone. Recreational drug use only benefits a few with absolutely no indirect benefit to everyone else shouldering the socialized systems.

      • +1 vote

        Recreational drug use has many positive externalities including stimulating the night time economy and people on drugs being generally happier.

        •  

          Some drugs mate. Im sure the majority of Ice / Heroin addicts wouldnt be called "generally happier" as they waste away to nothing and their teeth fall out.

      •  

        It has undoubtedly worked in places where drugs has been decriminalised though, we know how it will go because they're are already large test cases. Look at marijuana and its decriminalisation in North America and how successful it has been for their society and economy.

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