Arts & Entertainment


With a spate of music festivals on the Australia Day long weekend, the NSW Government still cold on pill testing and punters continuing to take their chances with dodgy MDMA tablets, at least the criminal fraternity is celebrating. Whilst much of the product is imported it’s no secret that ‘cooks’ are working overtime in clandestine labs all over the country to keep up with the voracious demand.

There’s even a growth industry now in detoxifying busted rental accommodation where the meth has been boiling and contaminating everything from the shag pile carpet to the garden gnomes on the back porch. The police continue to uncover these suburban labs as well as those on more remote rural properties.

The latter probably fall into the more difficult basket, particularly when they are set up in the garage of a historic 19th-century homestead set on 45 acres in regional NSW. That was the case back in 2017 when investigators from Strike Force Kingarth raided heritage listed Toongla in Tulimbar and seized a freshly cooked batch of meth. Nine people were arrested and charged including Stephen Gavanas, part of a notorious Melbourne crime family with links to Tony Mokbel.

The Sydney Morning Herald referred to the crime scene as “…a heritage meth tab” and despite the seriousness of the matter, it does set the mind ticking as to what might happen if ever the supply of such drugs was actually legalised. We are of course talking many decades from now when the only pill testing is done by Government agencies who regulate the chemical integrity of all recreational drugs.

It’s not a future I would willingly endorse but it may well be the only pragmatic way of dealing with the situation that now exists, given the scourge of ice and heroin. The question is could drugs like crystal meth and ecstasy ever reach the social acceptability that another drug, i.e. wine enjoys today?

In the brave new world of total decriminalisation and regulated supply, a weekend away in the country could well be spent at a beautiful heritage property somewhere in NSW – like the very scenic Hunter Valley. Greeted at the door by your jovial hosts you would be shown to your five-star accommodation complete with jacuzzi and complimentary cannabis flavoured chocolates.

Your own personal meth cook would be on hand to visit your deluxe room and whip up a batch of the “good stuff” for your evening enjoyment. No need to worry about those toxic fumes as his and hers designer Hazmat suits are provided absolutely free of charge, as is a rapid detox of your room with the morning cleaning service.

Any organised activities around the homestead, like fishing for trout or horse riding, are superfluous as you will be so whacked out during your weekend away most of your time will be spent in a semi-comatose state. There will be time however for the occasional ‘pill tasting’ when you visit the homestead’s own commercial style lab, where the MDMA tablets are stored in giant stainless steel barrels. A plate of selected cheeses is optional as you pop a few of their vintage pill produce. 2097 was a great year for MDMA!

If there is any ‘misadventure’ during the weekend the homestead does offer a budget-priced burial plot in the old, now disused vineyard. The chances of that, of course, are slim indeed, about one in 6000, the same odds that the current pill poppers at today’s music festivals are more than happy to risk.

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