Letters to the Editor, published in the Canberra Times 19/07/2019
Pru Goward’s piece on pill testing (“Pill testing is a dangerous distraction”, July 11, p. 20) shows her to have been one of those infuriating politicians who tell you so many things you want to hear and who appears to understand and even sympathise with your position.
But then you leave a meeting, as I did her article, wondering where you ended up. Turn our attention, she urges, to “pathological drug abuse, which really would be making inroads into many wicked social problems Australian governments struggle with but over which they have never prevailed”.
She is absolutely right. Our policy response to drug abuse is implicated in virtually all of Australia’s most intransigent chronic and costly social problems. But I’m blowed if, for all her apparently empathetic, and understanding words, she comes up with any practical course that would have done better than pill testing in saving the life of Joshua Tam who died at a music festival last December.
Framing drug policy that minimises harm to users, families and the community is not for dilettantes.