An independent evaluation into festival drug checking services, announced today by the government, should put to rest political squabbling about a law change allowing these vital harm reduction services to expand, says the Drug Foundation.
“These services have been running in New Zealand for 3 years, with host festivals welcoming the volunteer-run group Know Your Stuff NZ in the face of legal risks. More and more festival hosts and punters want to see drug checking come from out of the shadows and recent polling shows a massive 75% public support for this to happen.
“The only hold-outs have been a few nervous politicians, who we hope will have their concerns alleviated by this independent evaluation,” said Ross Bell, NZ Drug Foundation Executive Director.
“Similar evaluations recently conducted in the United Kingdom and Australia have proven the effectiveness of festival drug checking at keeping people safe. We are confident the robust service provided by Know Your Stuff will get the same seal of approval from independent research.”
Recently the youth wings of NZ First and the National Party have publicly endorsed festival drug checking.
“There is overwhelming public support for these services and the political consensus is strengthening, so we hope this independent research is the final hurdle to be jumped before the government amends the law to allow these services to operate openly without legal risk to themselves or the festivals,” said Mr Bell.
Data routinely collected by Know Your Stuff volunteers demonstrates the effectiveness of the service:
Source: Know Your Stuff NZ
Survey participants also reported that barriers to accessing services, resources and information were high.
A group of powerful synthetic opioids that were first detected in the country just a year ago may have already been linked to several deaths.
95% of respondents reported positive effects, in a study that looked at both prescription and black market cannabis use.