festival victim’s mother wants pill-testing implemented


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“Enough is enough. It is getting beyond a joke now.”

Emergency medical specialist David Caldicott, who has been advocating for, and researching pill testing for two decades, conducted the role-play demonstration for a crowd of about 150 on the mechanics of how a festival-goer would get their drugs checked.

He was forbidden from actually turning the testing machine on, even to check a legal substance.

“We are in a perfect storm right now, because there has never been such an array [of drugs], the candy store has never been so big as it is now,” Dr Caldicott said.

“Many of the products that have arrived on the market, particularly in Australia, are far more dangerous than the products they have been designed to replace.”

Young festival-goers, desperate for information about how to consume drugs more safety, plied Dr Caldicott with questions about pill potency and the risks after his talk.

“I thought it was fantastic that some of those kids were sitting there asking questions,” Ms Ross-King said.

“For me, that’s who we need to be listening to, experts with knowledge and experience.”

Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame was seated in front of Ms Ross-King for the demonstration as part of her research for the inquest into the deaths of six young people at music festivals, as well as harm-reduction measures including pill testing and the role of police and security staff.

The inquest is examining the circumstances of Alex Ross-King’s death along with those of Joshua Tam, 22, Callum Brosnan, 19, Joseph Pham, 23, Diana Nguyen, 21, and Nathan Tran, 18.

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