Pill Testing

Pill testing is a harm reduction service (also known as drug checking)  that analyses the contents of drugs to help you avoid the unknown and potentially dangerous substances in illicit drugs.

Pill testing is a harm reduction service (also known as drug checking)  that analyses the contents of drugs to help you avoid the unknown and potentially dangerous substances in illicit drugs.

Pill testing facilities have been effectively used internationally since the 1990’s and are currently available in 20 countries within Europe and the Americas, as well as New Zealand.

An Australian-first trial of a pill testing service was conducted at the Canberra leg of the Groovin the Moo festival on 29 April 2018.

The ACT Government is committed to preventing and reducing the harms associated with drug use and continues to explore opportunities to deliver pill testing in the future.

What is harm reduction?

Harm reductions includes measures that aim to reduce the adverse health, social and economic consequences of drug use for the user, their families and the wider community. You can find more information about harm reduction in the National Drug Strategy 2017-2026.

Why should I get my pills tested?

The composition of illicit drugs is varied and highly unpredictable. Makers of illicit drugs often cut pills with other substances or include more dangerous drugs entirely.

Pill testing better manages your risks and helps you make an informed decision about whether you take the drug.

How are pills tested?

Before your pill is tested, you are asked to take a pre-test self-assessment to identify the substances you believe are in your pill.

Service staff then take a small sample of your pill to put through the test equipment. Once the test is complete, they provide you with information about the results and discuss the risks you face by consuming the found substances.

Does pill testing make illicit drugs safe?

No—pill testing services operate on a harm reduction basis only. Illicit drugs, including amphetamines and MDMA, are inherently unsafe and testing can’t certify that you won’t suffer an adverse reaction by taking them.

Does pill testing promote or condone drug use?

No - evidence suggests that people don’t end up consuming more illicit substances as a result of a pill testing service. Pill testing services are a unique opportunity to effectively encourage people who use illicit drugs to modify their behaviours in ways that reduce risks of harm to their health.

Page last updated on: 28 Sep 2018