Anna Wood’s dad: Pill testing won’t work
Anna Wood’s dad: Pill testing won’t work

Anna Wood’s dad: Pill testing won’t work

The father of Anna Wood, whose 1995 death alerted Sydney­ to the dangers of using ecstasy­, has slammed the idea that pill testing would make drug-taking safer.

Anna, 15, and three mates all took the same tablets at a Sydney rave in October 1995. Her friends survived but Anna died three days later

Anna Wood, 15, who took the drug ecstasy before entering dance party, later lapsed into coma and died.
Anna Wood, 15, who took the drug ecstasy before entering dance party, later lapsed into coma and died.

 

Her dad, Tony Wood, yesterday said he was heartbroken for the families of the four young people who died after taking drugs at recent NSW dance festivals, but said pill testing was not the answer.

"Pill testing is another lark thought up by the pro-­legalisation lobby," he said. "If it was going to save any parent from the heartache of losing a child, I would be all for it.

"I can't think of any situation where it would work."

Premier Gladys Berejiklian yesterday said that she would consider implementing pill testing in NSW only if there was evidence it saved lives.

Mr Wood said it would not have saved his vivacious daughter. The coroner found the tablet Anna took was pure MDMA, and although she drank a lot of water, as advised when using the drug, her kidneys­ shut down. She died of acute water intoxication after two days on life support.

"The thing is that drugs are idiosyncratic so you don't know how they are going to affect­ anyone on any given day," Mr Wood said, adding that the drug problem at dance parties was "out of control­ now".

Security search for drugs at a music festival.
Security search for drugs at a music festival.

Mr Wood and his late wife Angela committed themselves to spreading the message that drug abuse could only be tackled at a basic level - between young people and their parents.

"All that parents can do is to arm themselves with as much information as they can about drugs so when their kids tell them how great drugs are, they can at least fight back with the facts," he said.

Mr Wood told Ms Berejiklian to stand her ground against the pill-testing lobby.

"I don't know how long she can hold out before the pro-legalisation lobby wears her down," he said. "MDMA used to be legal until it was banned in Australia in 1986 because it was deemed dangerous. Let's not make it legal again."

Ms Berejiklian continues to be vehemently opposed to pill testing. "If there was a way in which we could ensure that lives were saved through pill testing, we would consider it, but there is no evidence provided to the government," she said, adding that pill testing gave drug users "a false sense of security". "I hear what some people are saying, but as a premier … my job is to keep the community safe," she said.