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GP on pill tests: ‘MDMA not too dangerous’

A doctor has revealed controversial drug MDMA is actually ‘not that dangerous’ when taken in ‘pure form.’ 

Specialist GP David Charles Thomas weighed in on Australia’s pill testing debate on Thursday.

The real danger, he said, lies in the fact that the drug is illegal making it impossible for users to tell what’s in it.

‘If it was in the pure form, and you’re a healthy person … it’s probably not that dangerous,’ he told the Australian Radio Network.  

A doctor has said MDMA isn’t too dangerous if used properly 

‘But it’s still not a sensible thing to do, to take things with no information about where it’s been made, how pure it is, what else has been added to it.’ 

In a podcast titled Triggered, by Deborah Clay, the GP explained the way MDMA works to heighten excitement on users but also limits their ability to self-regulate temperature.  

‘It can make them feel like they have a lot more energy, but it also decouples their temperature regulation and their perception to the extent of any warning signs,’ he said.

Combined with the heat, dancing and general exertion of music festivals, users could easily overheat, he said.

Debates over pill testing continues to rage in New South Wales and Victoria in the wake of recent drug-related deaths at music festivals.  

In NSW, pill testing has become a hot topic ahead of the March 23 election.

Five people died after taking drugs at festivals in the state between September 2018 and January 2019, prompting a public outcry for pill testing trials.

But the NSW government remains firmly opposed.

The podcast, broadcast late last week, comes as former federal senator David Leyonhjelm called the government’s opposition ‘stupid’.

Debates over pill testing continues to rage in New South Wales and Victoria in the wake of recent drug-related deaths at music festivals. The GP revealed users risk overheating due to the heat, dancing and general exertion of music festivals

Debates over pill testing continues to rage in New South Wales and Victoria in the wake of recent drug-related deaths at music festivals. The GP revealed users risk overheating due to the heat, dancing and general exertion of music festivals

The Liberal Democrat, who is running for the NSW upper house, says people are going to take pills anyway and testing would make the activity safer.

‘Just because you disapprove of something does not mean you should prohibit it,’ he said.

Professional business woman Maggie, whose surname was withheld, told the podcast she went to great lengths to ensure she enjoyed MDMA at festivals, while also purchasing a ‘home’ pill testing kit to mitigate safety concerns.

The regular music festival patron said she concealed the drugs in a condom placed inside a tampon which she inserted into her body.

‘MDMA does not kill, if it did I would be dead,’ she said.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard disagreed, saying the popular music festival drug is dangerous.

‘What we do know, absolutely categorically, is that MDMA cooks your organs from inside,’ he told the podcast.

The government won’t accept pill testing as it’s ‘crazy’ for community leaders to endorse drugs, he said.

Mr Hazzard cited overseas research findings that people take more drugs when they get their pills tested.

‘You can take a fraction of MDMA and still end up in a coma and die,’ he said.

‘You can test the pill, but you can’t test the person.’

Opposition leader Michael Daley has said his party is open to exploring the option of pill testing if Labor wins the election.

Joseph Phan

Diana Nguyen, 21, died at Defqon 1 last year after overdosing on drugs

Joseph Pham (left) 23, and Diana Nguyen (right) 21, died at Defqon 1 last year after overdosing on drugs. The recent spate of drug-related deaths have led to calls for pill testing 

In Victoria, the government remains opposed to the idea.  

The New South Wales government previously rejected pill testing but Premier Gladys Berejiklian indicated earlier this month that she would consider it if the government was shown evidence it could save lives. 

Revellers Joseph Pham, 23, and Diana Nguyen, 21, died at Defqon 1 last year after overdosing on drugs.  

In January, 19-year-old Alex Ross-King, died after she collapsed at the FOMO music festival. 

Her death brought the number of fatal overdoses to six – five in NSW and one in Victoria – in the last four months.   

  

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