Our Service

KnowYourStuffNZ addresses the lack of factual, proven information available to drug users about the substances they intend to take by providing drug checking and drug related information at festivals and events. People have been obtaining substances that they thought were fairly safe, but in reality  have the potential to be something completely different that could harm or kill them.

The service provided by KnowYourStuffNZ includes:

– provision of factual information about drugs and drug use in general, signs of excessive or dependent use to look out for, and information about where to get help for drug related problems.

– testing of substances using reagents and infra-red spectroscopy to discern the content of a sample.

– provision of accurate information about specific substances detected within a sample, including active and toxic dose, expected duration of experience, reasons to not take a substance, what to expect psychologically, how to have a safer experience, and symptoms to look out for that signal danger.

People who use drugs occasionally are just as vulnerable to the dangers of the illicit market as regular users. They risk their substance being either substituted or adulterated with something dangerous. KnowYourStuffNZ specialises in events and festivals, but testing services can be arranged on an individual basis. Please contact us for details.

Our testing methods – Reagents and FT-IR Spectroscopy

KnowYourStuffNZ is made up of dedicated volunteers, and operates independently but with the support of the New Zealand Drug Foundation. The technology and methods we use are helping to develop global best practice in this evolving field. We share our processes and data with overseas testing services such as The Loop in the UK and DanceSafe in the USA. All KnowYourStuffNZ’s volunteers are trained in the use of the technology and interpretation of results.

Initial testing is carried out using reagents such as Marquis and Mandelin, as well as Ehrlich’s for detecting LSD. These reagents are now available in New Zealand through The Hemp Store. We recommend the DanceSafe instructions for interpreting reagent tests.

More detailed testing at events is carried out using a Bruker ALPHA – a Fourier transform infra-red  spectrometer. This uses infra-red light to generate a characteristic absorption spectrum for each sample, allowing the detection of drugs, adulterants, and mixtures.

Together, these methods allow us to identify over 95% of substances that people bring us.

We ensure minimal risk to clients

Accurate information about sample content is key to the success of KnowYourStuffNZ’s harm reduction work. The risk of inaccuracy is reduced in the following ways:

– Testers are trained in use of testing techniques, talked through the operating protocols and given reference copies of operational guidelines and testing protocol

– Testers always work in teams of two to cross-check observed reactions

– Up to date reference charts for reagents are obtained from Dancesafe.  Bunk Police reagent test reference videos may be used as a secondary reference.

– Bruker spectrometer software includes the TICTAC spectral library. This is the most up-to-date and globally-respected psychoactive substance reference available, updated regularly.

Participants are informed about the limitations of the service:

– KnowYourStuffNZ can only provide information about content, not purity

– reagent testing is subjective and can only identify the most obvious ingredient in a sample

– KnowYourStuffNZ cannot identify all harmful impurities

– results are not a guarantee of content but an indication.

– Results are recorded and conveyed in these terms: “This result is consistent with the presence of XYZ” rather than “This is XYZ.”

-Harm reduction information describing the risks associated with identified substance(s) is offered to each client.  This information is sourced from respected drug information databases (Tripsit and PsychonautWiki ). Participants are reminded that the safest option is always to not take a substance.

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