Tonight, three families are mourning the death of loved ones following the cluster of MDMA overdoses this weekend in Melbourne.
More than 20 people have been hospitalised, and three have died, from what’s reported to be a “bad batch” of MDMA – commonly called ‘ecstasy’ or ‘molly’ – circling Chapel Street, one of the city’s most popular night club strips.
The toxicology reports aren’t back yet, but a “bad batch” means one of two things.
Either the purity or concentration of the psychoactive chemical 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), is extremely high; or the drug has been “cut” with – or contains – another substance. Perhaps opioids, perhaps methamphetamine, perhaps something else entirely.
It is possible to test for both these scenarios with pill testing. Only problem being: MDMA is illegal, so the testing of MDMA pills is also illegal.
“It’s wrong to talk about a ‘bad batch’ of drugs, it’s more accurate to talk about a ‘bad batch’ of police ministers who are standing by a policy that is not working,” President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation (ADLRF) Dr Alex Wodak told Mamamia.
"The policy hasn't stopped people taking drugs, or being hospitalised, or dying from overdose.
"Through pill testing, we can identify the main ingredient, the dosage of that ingredient, and if the pill contains any life-threatening additives. But the police ministers won't allow it because it 'sends the wrong message'."