With due respect to the authors Martyn Lloyd Jones and Professor Paul Komesaroff (C/T, Evidence backs need for pill testing trials, Jan 10, p19) I disagree with the statement " It has taken until now for pill testing techniques to be developed to a level where they can identify the constituents in analysed samples with sufficient precision, reliability and speed".

As long ago as October 9, 2017 in this paper ( 'Oversold' pill testing not a magic bullet : toxicologist, p 2) senior toxicologist Dr Andrew Leibie of Safework Laboratories told us that infrared spectroscopy equipment will tell you nothing about the dose – a key consideration in determining toxicity and that with backyard/uncontrolled pill or tablet manufacture it is not at all uncommon to find more than 90% of the total drug in any given pill in less than half of the volume, i.e. the active ingredient distribution is highly variable. So, the only way to determine the exact contents of any pill to save young lives is to test its entire mass. This would mean crushing and grinding a pill to powder form in your instrument.

The unreliability of pill testing equipment is further underlined in the Canberra Times letter 'Deadly concept' of Jan 8 2019 where the pill testing advocate Gino Vumbaca of Pill Testing Australia is reported inter alia as saying "The testing capabilities are so  limited that revellers would be required to sign a death waiver, which includes a warning that tests cannot accurately determine drug purity levels or give any indication of safety".

Recently, Dr Leibie deepened the unreliability of infra-red pill testing technology saying that new designer drugs known as 'bath salts' were comparatively harder to trace and "They're much more dangerous, they're much more toxic than our more traditional drugs like ecstasy, and they're very cheap." (Daily Telegraph, Shining a light on limits of pill tests, Jan 11, p3). The stage has been reached where pill testing and music festivals are in a life and death scenario and the possibility of them being shut down in NSW is under active consideration (Daily Telegraph, Death dance hit list, Jan 15, p 1). ". In my view governments must not approve any more youth festivals until promoters sign a legally binding PILL TESTING EQUIPMENT Drug Watch Internationalng document accepting duty of care responsibilities, and we have gold standard testing equipment certified by the national toxicology body.

Colliss Parrett

Drug Watch International

24/43 Blackall Street

Barton A.C.T. 2600

 

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