Did I just snort some crack? Do we need legal drug testing in NZ festivals?

Yesterday, Newshub announced: "More than a third of Kiwi drug users are unwittingly buying drugs laced with dangerous chemicals."

This news has prompted calls for a law change around drug testing at festivals. 

A survey at Summer music festivals found the popular party drug MDMA, also known as Ecstacy, was in many cases substituted for a chemical mimmick known as bath salts.


It's that dirty, dark, secret around club and festival life in New Zealand, that nobody in the scene really wants to talk about... Smoke a bowl out of a crack pipe and people will start acting liking you've died. Rail some unknown substance in a port-a-loo with a couple mates, and then don't sleep for three days, and you're just having a good Summer. Right?

*cough* 

Pretty much everyone's accidentally snorted meth at some point... right guys? Guys!? 

*cough cough*

Newshub continued: "A survey at Summer music festivals found the popular party drug MDMA, also known as Ecstacy, was in many cases substituted for a chemical mimmick known as bath salts." 

What this means, is that there is already a community group, KnowYourStuffNZ, travelling around New Zealand festivals and testing drugs. However, unlike overseas circumstances, this is a legal grey area, and could result in these testers - who are just taking one for the team and trying to keep eveyone safe - ending up getting arrested for drug possession. 

Not ideal.

KnowYourStuffNZ spokesperson, Wendy Allison, told Newshub she tested over 300 illegal drugs at eight festivals in New Zealand last year. And many contained a range of random ingredients.

Allison opened up about what they found: "You name it really; fillers, pharmaceuticals, other psychoactive substances, there were even a couple things that we couldn't identify with help from a chemist."

Newshub reports: They also found 20 percent of drugs were ENTIRELY different to what a user thought they had purchased (not just cut) with cathinone, a common substitute for the substance claimed to be in the drug. 

This led 63 percent of people to reconsider whether they would still take the drug or not.

Younger people could blow all their money for the night on a pinger, only to find out it's Mephedrone cut with rat poison. What are they going to do now?


Is it it time New Zealand did the same as overseas festivals and made it legal for professionals to test your substances for you and tell you exactly what it is that you've got in that little baggy, capsulr or pressed pill? 

There's a few arguments around this sentiment.

If we allow legal drug testing, are we encouraging people to take drugs? 

And maybe people don't actually want to know. We're at the asshole of the world... it's so hard to get good drugs in this country... and much more expensive than the US or Asia or parts of Europe...

Younger people could blow all their money for the night on a pinger, only to find out it's Mephedrone cut with rat poison. What are they going to do now? Will they still take it? And are people really that surprised a third of our drugs are cut?

Well, New Zealand's health minister, Peter Dunne is on side for testing, telling Newshub:

"It is inevitable that when the Misuse of Drugs Act is reviewed in the next couple of years that this change will be considered," he said.

"My own personal view is I am in favour of it."

"It is a preventative measure, it is important people have a public safety message." 

What do you think? 

Roisin Kelly. 
(AKA Ro the web girl)