ACT Labor is leading the nation with progressive drug reform, recognising drug use as a health issue – not a criminal one.
Our harm minimisation approach to the use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco aims to provide people with access to the right health services and support so they can live healthy and safe lives.
The ACT Government's CanTEST Health and Drug Checking Service is a perfect example of this commitment.
The service, launched in July 2022, is Australia’s first fixed-site drug checking service. It provides people with chemical analysis of drugs and drop-in nurse consultations, offering health, sexual health, and mental health advice. It received strong community support and has already tested 371 samples and provided 436 health interventions in just its first four months.
An independent evaluation of the service, supports the continuation of the pilot and highlights the positive impact it has had on the community, with 80% of clients accepting an intervention and 62% reporting never previously accessing healthcare for drug advice.
Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith says, "We recognise that some people will use illicit drugs. Drug checking alongside expert advice and brief health interventions can reduce the harms associated with drug use, especially for people who may have limited drug-taking experience."
This is the next step in our commitment to delivering evidence-based and practice informed harm minimisation policy. ACT Labor will continue to deliver progressive policies and programs to make Canberra a more inclusive, healthier place to live.
CanTEST is run in partnership with Directions Health Services, Pill Testing Australia, and the Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy and is located at 1 Moore Street Civic in the City Community Health Centre. The free and confidential service is open every Thursday from 10am to 1pm and Friday from 6pm to 9pm.