Let's Test Not Arrest

Page last updated: 21 December 2016

The current National Drug Strategy aims to educate and inform groups that are at risk of illegal drug consumption, and to encourage and support decisions not to use illicit drugs.

At this time, a drug testing service is not part of the Australian Government’s commitment to tackling drug use. Our balanced approach is based in evidence and incorporates prevention, early intervention and health care strategies as well as law enforcement.

The Government is aware that drug checking is available in some European countries. The legal status of these services in Australia is unclear and there is no formal government endorsement of drug checking measures.

Most readily available drug checking methods can give some indication of the substances in an illegal drug. These tests cannot identify all substances that might be present and cannot test for the purity of an illegal substance.

There is a danger such testing might give the false impression that an illegal drug is safe to consume when there are risks associated with taking any illicit drug. Some of the risks include variations in purity within or between illegal drug batches, the introduction of new and novel substances into illicit preparations, and the risks of illicit drugs interacting with alcohol or other licit and illicit drugs. All of these factors increase the risks of morbidity and mortality associated with consuming illicit drugs.

The Government will not imply, through the introduction of drug checking, that illicit drug consumption is safe, nor will we ask our law enforcement agencies to enhance people’s ability to take illegal drugs.

A major strength of Australia’s response to drug misuse since the inception of the first National Drug Strategy in 1985 has been the collaboration between health and law enforcement.