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'Worth the test?' pragmatism, pill testing and drug policy in Australia

Groves, Andrew 2018, 'Worth the test?' pragmatism, pill testing and drug policy in Australia, Harm reduction journal, vol. 15, no. 1, doi: 10.1186/s12954-018-0216-z.

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Title 'Worth the test?' pragmatism, pill testing and drug policy in Australia
Author(s) Groves, AndrewORCID iD for Groves, Andrew orcid.org/0000-0002-1081-7909
Journal name Harm reduction journal
Volume number 15
Issue number 1
Article ID 12
Total pages 13
Publisher BioMed Central
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2018-04-10
ISSN 1477-7517
Keyword(s) Australian drug policy
Harm minimisation
Party-drug use
Pill testing
Pragmatism
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Substance Abuse
WASTE-WATER ANALYSIS
ILLICIT DRUGS
PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCES
TRENDS
USERS
LAW
IMPLEMENTATION
PERCEPTIONS
PATTERNS
CHECKING
Summary BACKGROUND: Recent deaths of young Australian music festival attendees from 'party-drug' overdoses have sparked debate about the effectiveness of drug policies. Australia is widely lauded for its harm minimisation approach to drugs, and yet, over the last 30 years, it can be argued its policies have been fragmented, sometimes inconsistent and contradictory. The present article examines the root of this inconsistency, using it as a foundation to advocate for drug policy reform. In keeping with the goals of the National Drug Strategy to promote policy innovation, there is an opportunity to learn from international studies which have shown promising findings in the reduction of party-drug use and its harms through application of pill testing.

METHOD: This paper evaluates Australia's National Drug Strategy and pill testing through a lens of pragmatism, to determine whether there is space for testing practices in contemporary policy. Specifically, the paper analyses current drug policy literature and research studies, examining a range of key drug use indicators, social and political debate and research evidence.

RESULTS: The need for policy reform, attitudinal and cultural shifts and development of stronger cross-sectoral partnerships is highlighted, to ensure a rational and logical approach that genuinely tackles drug policy-making and strategy from a broad public health perspective.

CONCLUSIONS: Using a theoretical frame of pragmatism and drawing from national and international research evidence, this paper recommends the integration of pill testing into Australia's harm minimisation strategy.
Language eng
DOI 10.1186/s12954-018-0216-z
Field of Research 160201 Causes and Prevention of Crime
111708 Health and Community Services
160504 Crime Policy
1117 Public Health And Health Services
Socio Economic Objective 940402 Crime Prevention
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2018, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30107675

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Humanities and Social Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.