“Your inability to see how pill testing reduces the risk of harm at festivals has substantially increased the risk of harm for young people attending the festival, and their families.”
Just days out from Groovin The Moo kicking off, it has been announced that the festival’s controversial pill testing service in Canberra has been pulled due to insurance roadblocks.
Pill Testing Australia and Harm Reduction Australia were originally confirmed to offer pill testing at the Canberra leg of this year’s festival, with support from both event organisers and the ACT government, but are being forced to pull the pin.
“I regretfully must inform you that the insurance company involved in insuring our service have today withdrawn their coverage and support for pill testing services, despite the detailed risk management work put together by our team and Groovin the Moo’s team,” Harm Reduction Australia President Gino Vumbaca OAM said.
“This situation occurred not long after the insurance company for the festival requested substantive additional requirements from Harm Reduction Australia before they could support pill testing services being included at the festival.
“All this occurred within a 48hr period just days before the festival is due to commence and despite all our paperwork and plans being submitted earlier was the case in our 2019 planning where pill testing was successfully run as a service at Groovin the Moo.
“As such, Groovin the Moo will not be able to have pill testing services at the upcoming Canberra festival.”
Plug into the latest music with our FREE weekly newsletter
Vumbaca reaffirmed that Groovin The Moo organisers maintained “strong support” for the service and were “disappointment” by its cancellation.
He also issued a message to insurance companies: “We are not permitted to provide this important (and potentially lifesaving) public health service for young people without insurance and yet despite all the risk mitigation and protocols in place for the service, not one insurance company seems prepared to insure the service.
“Your inability to see how pill testing reduces the risk of harm at festivals has substantially increased the risk of harm for young people attending the festival, and their families. You have turned your back on the community you serve and the many health professionals and volunteers that try to make the community we live in a safer and more humane place for everyone.
“I am not sure what the answer is for the future of pill testing and other services that engage with people who use drugs, but intervention at the government level seems to be the only real option to pursue.”
Featuring Snakehips, Hilltop Hoods, Spiderbait, Polaris, Riton, Peking Duk, Masked Wolf and stacks more, Groovin The Moo takes place this weekend across Maitland (April 23), Canberra (April 24) and Bendigo (April 30).