Pill testing should be legalised in the NT to prevent drug overdoses, minister says

Pill testing should be made available at Northern Territory music festivals to prevent drug overdoses, Assistant Police Minister Jeff Collins says.

Australia's first-ever pill testing trial took place in April at a Canberra music festival, where toxic and potentially lethal substances were detected.

Mr Collins, who is part of the parliamentary Select Committee on a Northern Territory Harm Reduction Strategy for Addictive Behaviours, said young people need to be made aware of the risks of taking illicit substances.

"There's lots of measures that have been taken to try and reduce the number of pills taken, including sniffer dogs and the like," Mr Collins said.

"But the fact remains that young people are still taking these pills at music festivals in particular and they don't know what's in them."

Allowing people to have pills analysed could prevent drug use, rather than encourage it, he said.

"I'd really hate to see some young person take a pill that they have no idea what's in it," Mr Collins said.

"They've been sold (it) by some stranger who's just out there to make a profit.

"It could have any unknown number of harmful substances apart from the drug. For me that's the worst outcome."

Mr Collins said he was motivated by concern about his own daughters, aged 12 and 11.

"While I would like to think that they will listen to me and not take pills, I am not so arrogant as to think that that might not happen," he said.

"So as a personal issue I would like to know that if my daughters are silly enough to make those decisions, that they can at least make them in an informed manner."

He said his views on pill testing shouldn't be viewed as advocating a green light for illicit drug use.

"What I am saying is drugs are dangerous, they are a poor health choice. And that's the message we need to keep reinforcing to our children."

Last year, Mr Collins visited Portugal as part of a study tour examining the impact of its drug decriminalisation program.

The Select Committee, which includes three Labor MLAs, one Opposition member and one Independent, will also examine a range of other drug-related issues, including needle and syringe programs and medically-supervised injecting facilities.

It will report its findings to Parliament by the end of August.

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