NSW Police has been labelled as “ludicrous” and having “lost touch with basic moral principles” for seizing legal equipment that campaigners say could save people’s lives.
An advocate for drug law reform has told news.com.au that NSW Police appears to be undertaking a “PR campaign” that will lead to young people harming themselves as a strategy to deter others from taking illegal drugs.
On Monday, NSW Police announced they had raided a shop in the Sydney inner west suburb of Newtown where more than $34,000 of “drug equipment” was seized.
It included “536 cannabis pipes, 195 ice pipes and 74 cocaine spoons,” as well as “numerous other pieces of equipment allegedly used to administer prohibited drugs”, police stated.
However, the police also said they had seized “seven ecstasy testing kits” despite the fact these are not illegal under NSW law.
The confiscation comes as advocates for drug law reform have increased pressure on the NSW Government to allow drug testing of ecstasy pills at summer music festivals.
Last summer, seven people died in Australia at festivals.
Will Tregoning, executive director of Unharm — an organisation that campaigns for safe drug use — lashed out at the police.
“It’s ludicrous for police to be boasting about confiscating these kits,” he told news.com.au
“This is dangerous, and police should reconsider.
“We’re in this crazy situation where police and politicians are doing everything in their power to prevent people from identifying and discarding the most dangerous substances before they take them. They are promoting harm in order to deter drug use.
“Aside from the fact that this strategy doesn’t work, it shows they have lost touch with basic moral principles.”
NSW Police uploaded images onto their Facebook page of the haul. However, by Wednesday the post has been taken down.
NSW Police has not answered news.com.au’s questions as to why they confiscated the kits or the reason why the original post was taken down.
Mr Tregoning who has set up the Tests, Not Arrests initiative to lobby for testing at festivals, said the seizure seemed to be as much about public relations than prevention. He said he understood police intended to “disrupt” any attempt to distribute pill testing kits at festivals.
“This operation was made for media and social media. It’s about police being seen to be ‘tough’ on drugs,” he said.