Policy Advocacy Statement | My Assignment Tutor

ASSESSMENT 2: POLICY ADVOCACY STATEMENT1Pill testing as an adjunct to existing harm reduction interventions atmusic festivals in NSW – Policy Advocacy StatementPrepared by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF)Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) PositionPill testing is a harm reduction strategy that has been extensively used internationally andshould be considered in Australia through further trials. Pill testing is a process whereby illicitsubstances are chemically analysed, allowing people to make informed choices and reducerisks of physical harm. In Australia, illicit drugs continue to be used at music despite lawenforcement deterrents. A more pragmatic approach is required in view of the significant risein harm to music festival patrons in recent years. This Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF)Policy Advocacy Statement: (1) outlines the Context of Pill Testing Health Reform, (2)addresses Key Issues Affecting Stakeholders and (3) provides an ADF Summary Statement.Context of Pill Testing Health ReformIn Australia, illicit drug use at music festivals is common, with up to 60% of patrons selfreporting use (Day et al., 2018). Often patrons are unclear which substance they are takingand do not trust the source of such substances (Barratt et al., 2018). Access to reliablechemical testing of substances is not available due to their illicit nature resulting in patrondecisions being made with insufficient information. In recent years, music festivals have seena significant rise in harms to patrons aged between 18 – 29 years of age (NSW Health, 2019a).The conditions at music festivals, including atmospheric temperatures, dehydration and highintensity activity over extended periods of time, contribute to drug toxicity (Liechti, 2014). Acombination of music festival conditions and illicit drug use has resulted in 6 deaths of youngpeople at NSW music festivals period December 2017 to January 2019 (NSW Government,2019b), informing the development of music festival harm reduction guidelines by NSWHealth (NSW Government, 2019a).Commented [AA1]: Excellent statement of position andintroduction to your assessmentCommented [AA2]: good issues to raiseASSESSMENT 2: POLICY ADVOCACY STATEMENT2A zero-tolerance approach to illicit drug use has continued in NSW law enforcement and astate political view prevails that abstinence is best (Ritter, 2020). However, ease of sales andprocurement of illicit drugs, using cryptocurrencies and social media, means an array ofsubstances has become available to more people (Martin, 2014). Emerging drug trends haveseen a wider variety of concentrated substances, including chemicals that are consideredlethal, identified at two pill testing trials in the ACT (ANU, 2019). Internationally, pill testingat music festivals is a harm reduction strategy that has been used for over 25 years,particularly through Europe (Groves, 2018), with an exponential increase in pill testingservices across developed nations over the past 5 years (Barratt et al., 2018). In this contexta more pragmatic approach to illicit drugs at music festivals is warranted with considerationof each of the stakeholders involved.Key Issues Affecting StakeholdersKey issues affecting each stakeholder are highlighted below with suggested amendments tobe considered.Music Festival Patrons• Pill testing engages people in the process of harm minimisation (Hungerbuehler,Buecheli & Schaub, 2011).• Patrons of music festivals value services that assist them to reduce risk and enhancewell-being. They are interested in accessing pill testing services, with almost 95% of cluband festival attendees indicated they would use pill-testing services (Barratt, Bruno,Ezard, & Ritter, 2018).• The insight gained from the recent ACT Pill Testing Trials suggest that drugs identified aslethal were voluntarily disposed of by music festival patrons (ANU, 2019) resulting inlives saved.Community• Pill testing has been found to expose dangerous substances that have recently come intocirculation (Barrat & Ezard, 2016).Commented [AA3]: A really well written overview of thesituation- well doneCommented [AA4]: good referenceCommented [AA5]: Excellent example of domestic casestudyASSESSMENT 2: POLICY ADVOCACY STATEMENT3• Early identification of dangerous substances acts to inform the public, which in turnpositively changes drug markets (Brunt, et al., 2017). Pills start to correspond to expectedconstituents over time suggesting manufacturers refrain from using adulterants (Brunt, etal., 2017).• Community concerns exist that pill testing may increase levels of drug use or encourageconsumers to feel drug use is safe (Trask & Burgess, 2018), which has been found to beunsubstantiated (ANU, 2019).• Pill testing can identify accurate drug constituent information from a trust-worthy source(Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government, 2020).• The safety of pill testing equipment has been questioned (Scott & Scott, 2019), howeverFourier Transform Infrared Spectrophotometer (FTIR) equipment used at the ACT trialswas able to identify active ingredient, filler and dyes used in substances and retains adatabase of chemicals tested (Butler, 2019).Government Sector• The current NDS 2017-2026 advocates for harm minimisation strategy implementation aspart of the greater policy (Department of Health, 2017), which is supported in the form ofGuidelines for Music Festival Organisers: Music Festival Harm Reduction (NSWGovernment, 2019).• Pill testing would be an adjunct to other harm reduction strategies; however, concernsexit around how testing would fit within the legislative framework (Faunce, 2018).• Licensing of pill testing operations has been discussed as result of the bill presented to theParliament of NSW with the aim of ensuring quality pill testing services and patron safety(Parliament of NSW, 2019).• Concerns around reliability of pill testing equipment and safety of service provisions,including “no drug is safe” messaging (Scott & Scott, 2019), would all be areas that needto be addressed in this legislation and licensing.• Criminal and civil law amendments would need to be made or an amnesty arrangementfor pill testing facilities (Faunce, 2018) to accommodate patronage with reduced risk ofarrest (Barret et al., 2018) and provide protections to pill testing organisations.Commented [AA6]: Great exampleCommented [AA7]: An apt analysis hereCommented [AA8]: existCommented [AA9]: Excellent observation of thecomplexities of this issue and the broader ramifications itmay haveASSESSMENT 2: POLICY ADVOCACY STATEMENT4• Drug monitoring and alert systems arising from pill testing data collection may offerbenefit to law enforcement and the health sector by informing policy development andsurveillance practices (Brunt, 2017).ADF Summary StatementWho is ADF?Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) is an independent organisation that receives governmentfunding for the development of harm reduction strategies relating to licit and illicit drug use.ADF recognises that health reform requires amendments to the law resulting from thecollaboration of the community, government and health professionals within the NSW legaland political framework. The position of ADF is formed with recognition of the range ofopinions on the implications of pill testing as an adjunct to harm reduction strategies.What is the aim of the ADF Advocacy Statement?This Advocacy Statement on pill testing as a proposed NSW health reform has been writtenwith the aim of ensuring that music festival patrons and community interests are supportedwhen legislation and licencing for pill testing are being considered and implemented. InAustralia, preliminary trials suggest that pill testing may be effective in as a harm reductionintervention which impacts patrons who use illicit drug use at music festivals (ANU, 2019).Further pill testing trials are necessary to determine efficacy of testing methods and theimpact on health behaviours and outcomes for patrons of music festivals.Why is pill testing health reform necessary?Pill testing as a policy reform would be a substantial adjunct to harm reduction interventionsavailable at NSW music festivals. In recent years, there has been a significant rise in thenumber of young people dying from illicit drug use at music festivals. Following on from thesuccess of preliminary trials in the ACT, further trials of pill testing will further elucidate theASSESSMENT 2: POLICY ADVOCACY STATEMENT5efficacy of such harm reduction intervention which allows patrons to assess risk and makeinformed choices about drug consumption or disposal.Harm Minimisation in Drug UseNo level of drug use is safe however, as drugs are commonly used at music festivals inAustralia, a more pragmatic approach to ensure patron safety needs to be adopted. Harmminimisation strategies are integral to prevention and minimisation of harm that can resultfrom drug use as outlined in the Australian National Drug Strategy (DOH, 2017). ADF view pilltesting trials as part of a range of important harm reduction strategies that are continuouslydeveloping. Further information on risk reduction is available at: https://adf.org.au/reducingrisk/ Other feedback Commented [AA10]: An engaging title,Good structure and format.A well researched and well written policy statement.You have argued convincingly on behalf of yourorganisation and supported your position withappropriate, logical evidence and examples. A goodeffort, well done.ASSESSMENT 2: POLICY ADVOCACY STATEMENT6APPENDIX A DEFINITIONSHarm reduction:“Approaches that seek to minimise or eliminate the impact ofillness and injury associated with drug and alcohol use uponindividuals, families and communities” (NSW Government,2019a).Harm reduction strategies:Approaches that “seek to create safer settingsand encourage safe behaviours” associated withdrug and alcohol use (NSW Government, 2019a).“Harm reduction encompasses a range of health and socialservices and practices that apply to illicit and licit drugs. Theseinclude, but are not limited to, drug consumption rooms, needleand syringe programmes, non-abstinence-based housing andemployment initiatives, drug checking, overdose prevention andreversal, psychosocial support, and the provision of informationon safer drug use” (Harm Reduction International, 2020)Pill (or other drug) testing:“A service that invites ordinary citizens toanonymously submit samples of illegal drugs forforensic analysis and provides individualisedfeedback of results and counselling asappropriate” (Barratt, 2017). ASSESSMENT 2: POLICY ADVOCACY STATEMENT7REFERENCE LISTAlcohol and Drug Foundation (2020). Reducing risk. Retrieved April 30, 2020 fromhttps://adf.org.au/reducing-risk/Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government (2020). Pill Testing. Retrieved April 30, 2020 fromhttps://health.act.gov.au/about-our-health-system/population-health/pill-testingAustralian National University (ANU) (2019). ACT pill testing trial 2019: Program evaluation.https://www.health.act.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-12/ACT%20Pill%20Testing%20Evaluation%20report%20FINAL.pdfBarratt, M.J. (2017, January 25). Drugs in digital society.https://monicabarratt.net/pill-testing-is-still-a-great-idea-if-we-use-the-right-equipment/Barratt M.J. & Ezard, N. (2016). Drug checking can track the nature and size of discrepancy betweenself-report and actual drugs consumed. Addiction,111, 558–559.Barratt, M.J., Bruno, R., Ezard, N. and Ritter, A. (2018). Pill testing or drug checking in Australia:Acceptability of service design features. Drug and Alcohol Review, 37, 226-236.Barratt, M., Kowalski, M., Maier, L, & Ritter, L. (2018). Global review of drug checking servicesoperating in 2017. NDARC Bulletin No. 24 Drug Policy Modelling Program 2018.Brunt T. (2017). Drug checking as a harm reduction tool for recreational drug users: Opportunitiesand challenges. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/system/files/attachments/6339/EuropeanResponsesGuide2017_BackgroundPaper-Drug-checking-harm-reduction_0.pdfASSESSMENT 2: POLICY ADVOCACY STATEMENT8Brunt, T.M., Nagy, C., Bucheli, A., Martins, D., Ugarte, M., Beduwe, C. & Ventura Vilamala, M. (2017).Drug testing in Europe: Monitoring results of the Trans European Drug Information (TEDI)project. Drug Testing and Analysis, 9, 188-98.Butler, J. (2019, January 22). Meet the machine that gives you the DNA of a pill right down to thetype of paint”. Ten Daily. https://10daily.com.au/news/australia/a190122srj/meet-themachine-that-gives-the-dna-of-a-pill-right-down-to-the-type-of-paint-20190122Day, N., Criss, J., Griffiths, B., Gujral, S.K., John-Leader, F., Johnston, J., & Pit, S. (2018). Music festivalattendees’ illicit drug use, knowledge and practices regarding drug content and purity: Across-sectional survey. Harm Reduction Journal 15(1), 1. Doi: 10.1186/s12954-017-0205-7.Department of Health (2017). National Drug Strategy (NDS) 2017-2026.https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/national-drug-strategy-2017-2026_1.pdfFaunce, T. (2018). Australia’s first official illicit pill testing at Canberra’s Groovin the Moo musicfestival: Legal hurdles and future prospects. Journal of Law and Medicine, 26, 54-60.Groves, (2018). “Worth the test?” Pragmatism, pill testing and drug policy in Australia. HarmReduction Journal, 15(12). Doi: 10.1186/s12954-018-0216-zziHarm Reduction International (2020). What is harm reduction? Retrieved April 30, 2020 fromhttps://www.hri.global/what-is-harm-reductionHungerbuehler, I., Buecheli, A., & Schaub, M. (2011). Drug checking: A preventionmeasure for a heterogeneous group with high consumption frequency and polydrug use –evaluation of Zurich’s drug checking services. Harm Reduction Journal, 8, 16-22.Liechti M. E. (2014). Effects of MDMA on body temperature in humans. Temperature, 1(3), 192–200.ASSESSMENT 2: POLICY ADVOCACY STATEMENT9Martin, J. (2014). Drugs on the dark net: How cryptomarkets are transforming the globaltrade of illicit drugs. Sydney: Palgrave Pivot.NSW Government, (2019a). Guidelines for Music Festival Event Organisers: Music Festival HarmReduction – December 2019. Online:https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/aod/Publications/music-festival-guidelines.PDFNSW Government, (2019b). State coroners court of New South Wales – Inquest into the death of 6patrons of NSW music festivals. Online:http://www.coroners.justice.nsw.gov.au/Documents/Redacted%20findings%20in%20the%20joint%20inquest%20into%20deaths%20arising%20at%20music%20festivals%20including%20annexures%20-%208%20November%202019.pdfParliament of NSW (2019). Legislation Review Committee – Legislation Review Digest, 9/57 – 19November 2019.https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/ladocs/digests/641/Legislation%20Review%20Digest%20No.%209%20-%2019%20November%202019.pdfRitter, A. (2020) Making drug policy in summer-drug checking in Australia as providing more heatthan light. Drug and Alcohol Review, 39, 12-20.Ritter A., McLeod R. & Shanahan M. (2013). Monograph no. 24: Government drug policyexpenditure in Australia—2009/10. DPMP Monograph Series. Sydney: National Drug andAlcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales.https://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/sites/default/files/ndarc/resources/24%20Government%20drug%20policy%20expenditure%20in%20Australia%20-%202009_10.pdfASSESSMENT 2: POLICY ADVOCACY STATEMENT10Scott, I.A. & Scott, R.J. (2019). Pill testing at music festivals: Is it evidence-based harm reduction?Internal Medicine Journal, 50, 395-402. Doi:10.1111/imj.14742Trask, S., & Burgess, K. (2018). Important questions linger ahead of nation’s first pill testing trial. TheCanberra Times, 27 April. https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6018432/importantquestions-linger-ahead-of-nations-first-pill-testing-trial/


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