National News

Paramedics don't sway Vic pollies on pills

Paramedics want pills snatched by authorities at Victorian music festivals to undergo testing so revellers can be alerted in real-time when dangerous drugs are circulating.

But Premier Daniel Andrews maintains this would be interpreted as a green light for people to take potentially fatal drugs.

The Victorian Ambulance Union says drugs confiscated by police and security at events should be tested by chemists so warnings can be issued through text message or social media when deadly substances are detected.

Union secretary Danny Hill says the change is needed because existing efforts to curb drug use aren't working.

He said he expected event organisers would have to pay for the testing, but argued there was an element of public interest which should encourage government support.

"At these events where we have five or 10 or 15 overdoses, it can tie up that many ambulances over the period of a weekend, it can cause assaults on our members; the ambulance is not available to respond to other patients in the community so there really is a benefit (to the public) in something like this," he told 3AW on Tuesday.

The push comes after a NSW coroner last week recommended pill testing after a lengthy inquest into MDMA-related deaths at music festivals.

Mr Andrews said the Victorian government will continue to oppose the initiative, insisting he is being driven by evidence.

"Even so-called pure versions of these drugs can kill you and we won't be sending a green light for people to use them," he told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Police Minister Lisa Neville said police already run an 'early warning' system, letting some communities and users know if they become aware of problematic batches of drugs.

The Victorian opposition doesn't want to see pill testing either.

"Illicit drugs are illegal for a reason because inherently they are unsafe," Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien told reporters.

The bipartisan opposition hasn't deterred the Greens and the Reason Party from planning to table a co-sponsored bill in state parliament's upper house for a two-year pill testing trial in Victoria.

They want a dedicated mobile pill testing service for major music festivals and a fixed-site service for more detailed analysis throughout the year.

Reason Party MP Fiona Patten said the legislation is about stopping young people from dying and would reduce drug use by promoting education.

The bill appears doomed to fail, with the government and opposition collectively holding a clear majority of seats in the chamber.

© AAP 2019