What is drug checking (pill testing)?

Drug checking – also sometimes referred to as ‘pill testing’ – involves members of the public voluntarily providing samples of suspected illicit substances they are intending to consume (e.g. tablets, capsules, powders, tabs/blotter paper etc) for chemical analysis.

Test results are provided back to the individual by health professionals as part of a personalised health and harm reduction intervention. The purpose of the intervention is to increase the person’s awareness of the risks associated with the substance with the aim of effecting behaviour changes that result in fewer harms or incidences of drug-related death.

No samples submitted are ever returned to the individual and secure disposal bins are available for those who wish to hand-over remaining substances in their possession to be destroyed.

Drug checking (Pill Testing) services operate in partnership with police, health and ambulance services and can be provided at festivals and events or on an ongoing basis within fixed site community-based settings.

Please click here to read
QNADA’s Drug Checking Position Paper.

Pill Testing for Queensland Alliance

PT4Q is an alliance of Queensland-based health, medical, treatment, harm reduction, legal, academic, community and youth sector organisations working together with local event and entertainment industry stakeholders. Together we are calling for the immediate introduction of drug checking (pill testing) and other harm reduction initiatives in the hope that tragic drug-related deaths across the nation are not repeated.

Please click the buttons below to access resources developed by the alliance:

Drug Checking (Pill Testing) Fact Sheet How does drug checking (pill testing) work


The State and Territory AOD Peaks Network Position Statement on Drug Checking

The State and Territory AOD Peaks Network supports the Australia-wide implementation of drug checking, including pill testing, as an important addition to our long-standing commitment to reducing the harms associated with drug use.

Following successful trials at an Australian music festival, the Peaks Network urges the Federal, State and Territory governments to invest in drug checking (pill testing) initiatives to support a balanced and holistic approach to harm reduction as a matter of urgency.

It is the view of the Peaks Network that drug checking (pill testing) should become a standard offering at music festivals, fixed sites in entertainment precincts, and at other sites and events where illicit drug use is likely to occur.

Please click the button below to access the Network’s full Position Paper:

AOD Network Position Paper

More Resources

The Loop Australia

The Loop Australia is an Australian not-for-profit organisation established in 2018 to develop the sustainable provision of drug checking services in Australia. They believe that drug checking (pill tesing) services should be freely accessible to people who may use drugs, including in community-based settings and drug health services, in order to engage with these populations and educate them regarding specific risks of drugs that may be circulating.

Just Mossin

Just Mossin believe that opening up the channels of communication through education and increased safety measures will bring about more informed decision making in our youth.
“One simple conversation may save the lives of many.”

Pill Testing Australia

Pill Testing Australia (previously STA-SAFE) has conducted drug checking (pill testing) trials in Canberra. Pill Testing Australia most recently implemented a 2nd Pill Testing Pilot at the Groovin the Moo Festival in Canberra where approximately 20,000 patrons gathered over the course of the day. The pill testing medical service tested 170 substances for 234 participants, seven dangerous substances containing N-ethyl pentylone were identified, with patrons being alerted to the dangers of the substance. You can read more about Pill Testing Australia’s latest trial here!

The University of Queensland

Dr Cheneal Puljević is a Research Fellow in the area of substance use harm reduction at the Centre for Health Services Research at The University of Queensland.
Dr Ellen Leslie is a lecturer in alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use at the School of Public Health at The University of Queensland.
Associate Professor Jason Ferris is an expert on drug epidemiology from the Centre for Health Services Research at The University of Queensland.

Media Release – Coroner calls for urgent drug testing services in Victoria

Victorian Coroner Paresa Sparos has called for drug checking (pill testing) services to be made available in Victoria (07/04/2021). This recommendation follows an investigation into five tragic and avoidable deaths in 2016-17, involving a toxic combination of 25C-NBOMe and 4-Fluoroamphetamine.

NSW Coroners Inquest into the death of six patrons of NSW music festivals

This inquest examined the deaths of six young people who died during or just after attending music festivals in NSW during a 13-month period from December 2017 until January 2019. The inquest states that there is strong evidence to support a range of initiatives, including drug checking and drug monitoring, strengthening peer support organisations, changing the way festivals are currently policed and improving the safety of the environments where festivals are held.

Support the Pill Testing for Queensland Alliance

You can support the introduction of drug checking (pill testing) in Qld by getting educated, talking to your friends and family, and sharing our resources on social media.

QNADA's Facebook Page