Coast lawyer Peter Boyce sees merit in allowing pill testing.
Coast lawyer Peter Boyce sees merit in allowing pill testing. Contributed

Punishment won't stop pill poppers

PROMINENT Coast lawyer Peter Boyce says more punishment isn't the answer when it comes to drug use and abuse.

After decades spent in the legal system he's seen the effects of drugs countless times, as people of all ages lay wasted in watchhouses coming down from a trip.

After two recent deaths at the Defqon1 dance music festival in western Sydney the debate has raged again over whether punters should be able to test their pills.

Mr Boyce, principal of Butler McDermott Lawyers, said stepping up awareness of the effect of the drugs, as opposed to just delivering more punishments, was the way forward.

"It's just a problem of society," he said.

He thought festival goers should have access to testing, as opposed to running the gauntlet.

Peter Boyce from Butler McDermott in Nambour, was the solicitor for the Morcombe family and is receiving an Order of Australia medal.
Photo: Iain Curry / Sunshine Coast Daily
Peter Boyce from Butler McDermott in Nambour, pictured in 2013 in his office. Photo: Iain Curry / Sunshine Coast Daily Iain Curry

Mr Boyce said he'd seen countless toxicology reports which showed what people thought they were taking ended up being very different quantities and substances to what was in the drugs.

"I've seen them in the watchhouse," he said.

"It's terrible when you see them coming down."

Kawana MP Jarrod Bleijie earlier this week said there was simply no place for drugs at music festivals and the law had to be enforced.

Mr Boyce questioned whether legalised areas, similar to methadone clinics, where people could use drugs in a controlled environment, would deliver better outcomes than the present system.

"People who buy drugs don't know what they're getting," he said.

He thought controlled environments may help those inquisitive users, who were curious and wouldn't use again, to try something and then move on.

"It's better than giving them the chance to perhaps kill themselves," he said.

Mr Boyce said we had to be careful not to be seen to be promoting drug use either and early education about the perils of drug use and abuse should be carried out in schools.