In what can only be described as a 'drug harm maximization' approach, Dr Tom Mullholland writes for Stuff that "event drug testing sends the wrong message" and drug users should instead adopt a "just say no!" approach.
Dr Tom rants on that "drug testing sends a message that taking drugs is OK and its not" and that "Drugs are illegal and with good reason".
This is where Dr Tom is wrong. Taking drugs is OK. Like many other animals, humans are born with receptors in our brains that are designed to work with various psychoactive plants. The desire to alter ones consciousness is as natural and healthy as the drive to socialize, dance or make love.
Rather it is the Prohibition of drugs that is not OK. While chemicals such as MDMA are extremely safe and beneficial if used correctly, Prohibition has forced these chemicals underground, where they are produced with no regulations, strength limits or quality controls. they are often cut with substances that can be far more dangerous than the original substance. Prohibition kills.
In a perfect world there would be a range of safe legal psychoactive substances available under the PSA (Psychoactive substances act) for those that want to experiment with altering their own consciousness. But its not a perfect world and we currently still have to deal with the destructive policy of Prohibition. Until this harmful policy of Prohibition is repealed drugs will continue to cause harm, especially to our young people. The best way to minimize that harm is to provide drug testing at events where young people take drugs.
Dr Tom's idea of "Just say no!" failed in the 80s. It increased drug harm and most of the world has since moved on. A better idea would be to encourage our young people to "Just say Know!"