CONSIDERATION: Nationals Ben Franklin with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
CONSIDERATION: Nationals Ben Franklin with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Christian Morrow

PILL TESTING: Pollies say they'll think about

NATIONALS hopeful for the seat of Ballina in the upcoming State election, Ben Franklin has signalled his willingness to give consideration to pill testing.

Mr Franklin's comments come in the wake of five deaths as a result of suspected drug overdoses at festivals in the state since September and a softening in the stance of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian who this week said the State Government would consider pill testing if there was evidence shown it saved lives.

"Like many other community leaders I am deeply saddened and concerned by the recent tragic loss of young lives at festivals due to drug overdoses," Mr Franklin said.

"There has been a great deal of discussion in the media regarding the use of pill testing at festivals in NSW as one way to address this. It is a very emotive issue for many people on both sides of the debate.

"I believe that the issue cannot be considered rationally and sensibly during the heat of an election campaign.

"On a personal level, I am not necessarily opposed to the consideration of pill testing. However any policy change in this area must be evidence-based and developed after advice from local and international experts and examining experience from around the world."

There is a growing chorus of support for pill testing with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and former Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Palmer calling for it to be allowed at festivals.