Newsletter April 2024


From small steps at the United Nations to major cannabis reforms in Germany, change is in the air.

At home, we’ve had big wins in Queensland, where Pill testing is a go, and smaller victories in NSW and Victoria, where both state Premiers have indicated they are looking at pill testing. Want to know more?

Read on for the latest news.


Queensland Pioneers Pill Testing

Who would have thought? Queensland, Australia’s most conservative state, has gone bananas for pill testing. Queensland now offers testing at festivals and significantly two permanent drug testing sites. The first pill testing site opened on April 19th in Bowen Hills, while the second one on the Gold Coast is due to open in July. More Information.

Victoria Blinks on Pill Testing Ban

Nine people were hospitalised at a Melbourne music festival in January, provoking the Victorian Premiere Jacinta Allan to seek advice from the Health Department. She said, "Once that investigation has been concluded, we'll be able to take that advice." With Queensland and the ACT now in the pill testing tent, surely it’s only a matter of time before other states follow. More Information

Cracks in NSW Opposition to Pill Testing

NSW is introducing a four-month trial for drug testing at the Kings Cross Safe Injecting Centre. This tentative baby step is a research project by the University of NSW but with government approval. That being said, the NSW government still publically opposes pill testing, but with public opinion firmly in favour, hopefully, things may change at the upcoming NSW Drug Summit. (Still no announcement on when the Summit will occur)  More Information

Street Campaign for Pill Testing


Greg Chipp and fellow director Lisa Van Rooyen campaigning in Collingwood.

Drug Policy Australia remains steadfast in advocating for pill testing with our ongoing Pill Testing Street Campaign. The campaign aims to galvanise public opinion to influence governmental action. This April, our team took to the streets of Collingwood to raise awareness about the lifesaving benefits of pill testing, receiving tremendous support from the local community.

With your support, pill testing will soon be a reality in Victoria.

As a registered charity, we rely on your generous donations to continue our fight for drug policy reform. Your donation will help get pill testing over the line. Please show your support for evidence-based drug policies that support justice and human rights.

All donations are fully tax-deductible.

Harm Reduction Wins at the United Nations 67th CND 


The 67th United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs finally relented and accepted that harm reduction is the way to go! For the first time, a resolution at the CND explicitly mentioned "harm reduction" as the key element in protecting public health and mitigating the negative effects of drug use. Also, half of member-states admitted the war on drug users is a complete failure. Change at the UN is always slow, but adopting “Harm Reduction” terminology is a big deal and will help speed up reforms. More Information

Legal Cannabis Winning over Victorians

More good news with research from the Penington Institute finding that an overwhelming 54% of Victorians support legalising cannabis for adults. With support at an all-time high, the tide is finally turning on the ridiculous cannabis prohibition. Good news for common sense! More Information


ASIC: Wastewater Analysis Reveals Crap Numbers

Our friends at the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, known for their penchant for details (some would say anally retentive), continue to analyse Australia's crap with surprising results. Their latest report reveals the truth about prohibition… It does not work!

By measuring the minute traces of drugs in the sewerage system, ASIC estimates the Australian drug market is worth $12.7 billion. That is $1.27 billion in lost GST, not to mention the billion-dollar gift to organised crime courtesy of the Australian Government's failed policy. More Information

Rethinking Nicotine Vape Regulations

Nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs known to man. And yes, nicotine vaping is an insidious habit foisted on young Australians by unscrupulous operators. But is banning them the answer?

Recently, the Australian Government, ignoring the evidence from the failed war on drugs, has banned access to nicotine vapes without a doctor's prescription. This unprecedented move is tantamount to banning Nicotine vapes as many doctors won't prescribe them, forcing nicotine addicts to choose between dangerous black market vapes and cigarettes.

Banning nicotine vapes will not eradicate demand but will create an unregulated black market to meet that demand.

DPA advocates for a Better Way. Instead, let's apply sensible health-centric regulations and harm reduction strategies, as we have for cigarettes. To this end, we submitted responses to various state and federal vaping inquiries.


Germany Legalises Cannabis

Germany is making headlines across Europe by legalising cannabis. From the 1st of April, Germans can possess 25g of cannabis in public, 50g at home, and grow up to three plants for personal use. Not-for-profit clubs are now able to grow and distribute cannabis to their members. More information

Sadly, it's not all smooth sailing.

Oregon Backflips on Drug Decriminalisation

In 2020, Oregon made history by legalising possession of small amounts of drugs. Due to a conservative backlash and media hype, the reform has been rolled back. Although overdose deaths have increased since the introduction of decriminalisation in 2020, researchers point out that this is due to external factors like COVID and an influx of Fentanyl. They also point to the consistent increase in overdoses in neighbouring states. The new law reintroduces criminal penalties for the possession of drugs but also includes some welcome harm reduction initiatives, including treatment options for drug users before jail. More Information

Thailand: The Fall of a Cannabis Paradise


Thailand's booming cannabis industry is facing a major setback as the new health minister plans to backflip on the recent recreational cannabis reforms by the end of the year. A new bill proposes hefty user fines and jail time for sellers, and farmers could face even tougher penalties. But many pundits believe it is too late to completely roll back reforms that are already a tourist bonanza with over 6000 legal dispensaries and an estimated market of over a billion dollars. More Information


Victoria Cancels Second Safe Injecting Centre

Despite advice from experts, the Victorian Government will not proceed with a second medically supervised injecting room in Melbourne CBD. The flimsy reason was that they couldn’t find a suitable site. Obviously, many people are disappointed with this decision. More Information

ALERT: Substances are getting stronger and deadlier. And worse, they’re all around the corner.

Nitazenes: Cheap, Deadly, and in Australia

A new deadly opioid, Nitazenes, has hit the streets in Europe, the UK, the US and now Australia. It can be hundreds of times more potent than heroin, stopping you from breathing in just seconds. In the US, it has even been found in the popular party drug MDMA. Now, this deadly substance has made its way to Australia, and we need to prepare for the worst. NSW has just issued an alert for Nitazene in the Penrith area. More Information

Australia is Unprepared for Fentanyl

The clock is ticking before fentanyl arrives in Australia. What’s concerning is the admitted lack of preparation from the government and health departments. More Information

The good news is that DPA is actively stocking up on thousands of Fentanyl Test Strips to ensure availability if things go downhill. NGO's and govt agencies can purchase them at discounted non-profit prices. 

Fentanyl Test Strips


Fentanyl Test Strips are a simple tool used to detect fentanyl and many of its analogues. They provide a quick and easy means of detecting fentanyl in a drug sample, giving results in three minutes through a simple 15-second dip test.

They are the proverbial canary in the coal mine, alerting consumers and health professionals to potential danger. Having enough supplies of these test strips will save thousands of lives in the event of an influx of fentanyl in the drug supply chain.

Drug Policy Australia is one of the few organisations importing Fentanyl Test Strips into Australia and is making them available to other non-profits, government departments and needle and syringe services.

Please consider getting these Fentanyl test strips to protect yourself and the people you love!

We stock these in our shop for your convenience. 

How you can Help

Our current drug laws are targeting vulnerable members of our community, including young people and Indigenous Australians. In 2021, 1,675 Australians died of an accidental drug overdose. The drug laws did not help those who died of an overdose, nor do they help the thousands of families that need help with addiction today.

At Drug Policy Australia, we campaign for a world where vulnerable individuals are not persecuted, prosecuted and demeaned for their drug use but are treated with respect and compassion. We need your help to do this.

As a registered charity, we rely on your generous donations to continue our fight for drug policy reform.

All donations are fully tax-deductible.

Passionate about Drug Policy Reform?

Our Reformers Club brings like-minded thinkers together to discuss new ideas for change!

The Club has grown exponentially, bringing together experts, activists, Drug Policy Australia directors and concerned citizens to strategise and advocate for policy change. The group meets every month online so everyone can join in and have their say.

Join the movement. Sign up for the Reformers Club here.

The Case for Reform E-book

Join the fight

Want to talk with your loved ones about drug policy reform but don't have all the answers?

Download our FREE Case for Reform ebook. Equip yourself with the tools to educate your friends and family on the ins and outs of drug reform. 

Download the Case for Reform e-book here. 
Finally, thank you for your continued support and dedication to drug policy reform. Together, we are making a difference by pushing for policies that prioritise health, dignity, and human rights.

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