Johnboy Davidson on drug checking

Johnboy Davidson (pillreports.com) on the history of pill testing and the future of drug checking.

Johnboy_Davidson_at_Unharm_meetup.jpgThis talk was part of a seminar on music festival and dance party harm reduction: 'If not dogs then what?'. Unharm organised the seminar as part of the campaign to end the use of drug detection dogs in public places.

Johnboy’s talk focused on why drug checking works to reduce the risk of drug-related harm. He starts out by clarifying an important point about why we've moved on from 'pill testing' to 'drug checking'.

The first part of the talk is about why he got involved in drug checking in the late 90s and established Enlighten Harm Reduction and pillreports.com. In the mid-2000s Enlighten attempted to introduce lab-grade testing technology. Intervention from the Federal government ended those plans.

Now, new technology is opening up new possibilities for drug checking services, and the need is greater than ever.


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  • What a detailed insight Johnboy Davidson’s talk provided on the reality of the tough resistance drug checking facilities such as this one are up against in Australia. Drug checking systems have proven harm reduction success rates in many parts of Europe, the US, and the UK, so it is difficult to comprehend why the Australian Government will not consider piloting such facilities at events around the country. Given the fact Australia led the way in the introduction of safe injecting rooms for controlled heroine use, why won’t they consider implementing a pragmatic drug checking system? How does Johnboy’s point about the reason for drug checking facilities being illegal due to the fact those testing the substances are deemed to be in control and possession of the illegal substances, correlate to the monitored use of heroine in safe injecting rooms? If the law is substantial and consistent, shouldn’t those monitoring the injecting rooms be arrested for possession and control of heroine? It’s about time Australia caught up with the rest of the world and realised that if many other older and more experienced countries around the globe have successfully adopted an innovative approach to drug policy, while Australia has the highest drug mortality rate, our current systems clearly are not working properly.