Pill testing could be expanded beyond festival-goers in the ACT and offered every Friday and Saturday night in Civic, ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury has proposed.
It comes as drug testing advocate Matt Noffs slammed the National Capital Authority's decision not to allow pill testing to take place on Commonwealth land for music festival Spilt Milk, saying the NCA was a hurdle it could work around.
STA-Safe (Safety, Testing and Advisory Service at Festivals and Events) consortium member and drug law reform advocate Mr Noffs said drug checking would go ahead for the festival, it was just a matter of where it would be held.
He said negotiations were under way between the ACT government and advocates to have it located outside the venue, and off Commonwealth land.
"No sites have been determined yet, but discussions are moving in the right direction. Both the consortium and ACT Health want this resolved," Mr Noffs said.
"Both sides are happy with the progress to find a solution, and if that means going around the National Capital Authority, we'll do that.
"The NCA should stick to worrying about issues like parking and leave issues about health to people who know what they're talking about."
Despite the setbacks, Mr Noffs said the measure would eventually take place.
"We're not too concerned about the NCA, we've faced hurdles before when it comes to pill testing," he said.
"We've been denied for two Spilt Milks now, but we'll keep going, we're used to it."
The Spilt Milk festival was set to be the first legal pill-testing trial in Australia in 2016 but the promoters pulled out due to approval issues. The STA-Safe consortium ran the Australian first pill-testing trial at Canberra's Groovin the Moo festival at the University of Canberra instead.
Mr Rattenbury said there was scope for holding pill testing off site at Spilt Milk 2018, but it would be more effective if it was inside the festival grounds.
"People have canvassed the idea of doing it off-site, but I have not seen the specific proposal," he said.
Mr Rattenbury said a possible next step in the availability of pill testing could be making the service available every weekend to party-goers in a central Canberra location.
"The ACT only has two big festivals a year, but people are taking party drugs every weekend in Canberra," Mr Rattenbury said.
"If you want to maximise harm minimisation, you would take the approach to make it more available to people more of the time."
Mr Rattenbury said locations such as the Civic bus interchange could be used for such a service, or in places around the city that had the greatest concentration of potential clients.
The idea for expanded pill testing came after a visit to the Netherlands, where the Greens leader saw the initiative take place in various health clinics before a weekend.
"They used to do it at festivals but now they offer in clinics on certain days of the week," Mr Rattenbury said.
"The testers weren't condoning drug taking, they were highlighting the risks of it, and they had challenging conversations with the clients as to why they were taking the drugs, so it was a whole-of-health response."
The debate surrounding pill testing at music festivals has been reinvigorated after two drug-related deaths at the Defqon.1 festival in Sydney.
Within days of the incident, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced an expert panel on how to make festivals safer but would not examine pill testing, a decision Mr Noffs has criticised.
"If the premier refuses the science of pill testing and dismisses it out of hand, then NSW is doomed," Mr Noffs said.
"If government leaders aren't strategic about pill testing now, it will be too late."
At an address at the National Press Club earlier this week alongside former Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Palmer, Mr Noffs called for a roll-out of pill testing across the country.
The pair also launched a national campaign called Take Control, aimed at harm-reduction measures and ending criminal convictions for minor drug possession charges.
While the ACT has led the way for pill-testing trials at music festivals, Mr Noffs hoped other states and territories would follow suit.
"We're looking to the Northern Territory and possibly Western Australia and starting to work with them," he said.
"States like Queensland and Victoria don't want to be the last cabs off the rank when it comes to pill testing."
Following on from the success at Groovin the Moo in Canberra earlier his year, Mr Noffs said he had no doubt it would return for the 2019 festival.
"There have been lots of lessons learnt this year, and every year after that, and every festival we hold in the ACT will be safer because of it," he said.