n official report of UoA’s first drug checking event states it was a success, and resulted in tangible harm reduction outcomes.
During re-orientation week, Know Your Stuff (KYS) ran a pilot for a free, confidential, drug checking service in Albert Park, supported by UoA’s Student Wellbeing Team and the New Zealand Drug Foundation (NZDF). This event was possible due to legislation passed last year, allowing drug and substance checking services to operate legally in New Zealand, with the aim of minimising drug and substance harm.
The clinic ran for three hours on July 19 at full capacity, with a total of 35 drug samples tested at the event. The most common drugs seen were MDMA, ketamine, and amphetamines. According to testers, the majority of people who visited the clinic were inexperienced drug users.
Drug checking is a proven effective drug harm reduction strategy. According to KYS, drug checking reduces the risk of death from drug use by ensuring people know what substance they have, and the risks associated with it so they can make an informed choice. An official report of the event revealed only 57% of the samples tested were consistent with what the client had presumed them to be.
After further ESR testing of one sample presumed to be a fake Xanex, it was determined that the drug checking service most likely saved a person’s life. “If the full pill had been ingested, it would have resulted in death within a couple of hours for the consumer.”
I’m all for drug testing. It reduces harms and saves lives.