Some wary of getting their illicit drugs safety tested

September 22, 2023

Some wary of getting their illicit drugs safety tested

Anonymous interviewee pictured with illicit substance believed to be ecstasy. Photo: Amy Hyde

Free and legal drug checking services are offered in New Zealand, but there is limited awareness of where to find them and what’s  involved, a small survey has found.

Providers such as Know Your Stuff, NZ Needle Exchange and the NZ Drug Foundation test recreational substances for the sake of personal safety and harm reduction.

Legislation has changed in recent years to include the Drug and Substance Checking Legislation Act, which ensures police cannot use your presence at a drug checking clinic against you, whether this be in court or to  search you.

Despite this confidentiality, just over a third of participants said  they don't feel safe legally having their drugs tested, fearing they may be confiscated.

One repondent wrote:  “But only if police and the facility will not seize what’s left”, with another stating “It seems like a setup and a bit sus”.

The majority of participants agreed they would have their drugs tested given the opportunity, but three quarters were unaware of any  facilities nearby that provided these services.

An Auckland student, who asked to remain anonymous, said  a close friend took contaminated ecstacy and suffered a “terrifying trip to the hospital.”.

Pop-up testing is regularly available  in the main cities including Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The testing is entirely confidential, and details can be found on ‘TheLevel’ website. The University of Auckland offers a clinic schedule for those in need of testing services.

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