With the debate currently raging nationally on the need for pill testing, the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association has come out in favour of of harm minimisation strategies in relation to substance use.
It is well known that a blanket ban on illicit drugs and the application of criminal law to control substance use in Australia is an approach that is failing. There is a need to explore alternative models that can assist in the control of drug use and reduce the occurrence of adverse events relating to illicit drug use.
Pill testing is a harm reduction approach that provides substance users with information that they might otherwise not have been able to access and allows substance users the opportunity to make informed decisions regarding their substance use.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) is an advocate for interventions that promote harm minimisation in relation to substance use. The NSWNMA supports regulated pill testing.
The NSWNMA has long been a leader in its advocacy for harm minimisation to protect the public and has demonstrated a harm minimisation approach by supporting:
• The Injecting Room, Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre.
• NSW Drug Law Reform on Cannabis use.
• Needle and syringe programs.
• Opiate Antagonist Treatment for people using opioids.
• Retention of measures to reduce alcohol related violence in the Sydney CBD and Newcastle.
Adequate resources for drug and alcohol treatment, management and preventative education is required, with recurrent funding to ensure treatment options and ongoing support is readily available and able to be maintained.
The NSWNMA Position Statement on Harm Reduction can be found here.