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Melb Uni students to get drug test kits

AAP logoAAP 21/09/2016

Melbourne University students will be able to get free drug testing kits to check if their illicit party pills are what drug dealers say they are.

The student union has voted to buy and distribute the kits, after a number of deaths at music festivals due to illicit drugs.

"(It's to) test the drugs to see if they are what they say they are. It's not a test to see if they're safe to take," union president Tyson Holloway-Clarke told AAP on Wednesday.

"We could do what we're doing here, harm minimisation and addressing a reality that students and young people of this age are using drugs, or we could pretend it doesn't exist."

The kits include legal information and instructions for testing drugs.

"If a student buys ecstasy, the kit will change colour and tell you that it's ecstasy, it won't tell you how much ecstasy, it won't tell you if it's got other things in it that might be unsafe," Mr Holloway-Clarke said.

Victoria's upper house is investigating the effectiveness of harm minimisation strategies, including "procedures for deploying drug detection activities at events".

The committee will report back in March.

Premier Daniel Andrews said earlier in the year he was opposed to pill testing, and the government confirmed on Wednesday it has no plans to roll it out.

"The Melbourne University proposal is a matter for the university, however we understand that Victoria Police will be closely monitoring," a government spokeswoman said.

"The government invests almost $200 million a year towards a range of harm minimisation measures."

A Victoria Police spokeswoman warned it was "unlawful to use, possess, cultivate or traffick illicit drugs in any form".

"Those handling illicit substances as part of a pill-testing service could be liable to prosecution."

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