Apparently our results are news!

When we published the final results from our testing data on Sunday, we were not expecting much media interest. After all, the numbers haven’t changed that much since July, when we first published our preliminary results. However, we did attract some attention. Here is a roundup:

VICE: These are the drugs appearing at New Zealand festivals. A nice summary of the results and associated concerns and our pick of the bunch for accuracy. They spoke with us at length before publishing this.

Stuff: Drug tests at festivals find dangerous new varieties posing as well known pills. Considerably better than the average Stuff article and bonus points for consulting both us and the NZ Drug Foundation.

95bFM: They know what you took last summer. Bcast in which we discuss our findings and our concerns about emerging substances for the upcoming festival season. Short but effective, and not sensationalist.

Newshub: Kiwi MDMA and LSD users being conned – study. Newshub, I am disappoint. Not only is KYSNZ a service not a study, they ripped all their info straight off our website without talking to us at all, and didn’t consult us before using one of our charts.

They also state that people are buying their drugs at the events where they are tested, from evil drug dealers out to dupe people for a fast buck. This may well happen sometimes but we do not collect information about where people obtain their samples, so this assumption is pure conjecture. Anecdotally, we think it’s more likely that many people obtain their drugs prior to entering an event, a process immortalised in the 90s by UK band Pulp as Sorted for Es and whizz (or bath salts and amphetamine as the case may be).

It appears that none of the media so far has cottoned on to one of the most important points – that when confronted with the news that their sample isn’t what they think it is, over half of people then choose not to take it. I guess that’s not dramatic enough…

I suggest at least talking to us before publishing articles about our work. It really does make for better articles.

Even the PM would support legal drug checking

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Bill English, is socially conservative. Yet when asked if he thought drug checking at festivals was a good idea, he said “I suppose it is – as long as it’s legal.”

“It means people can see what they’re taking is dangerous.”


“People who are taking drugs… I’m sure they understand what’s legal and what isn’t and the testing has to be as well.”


So let’s get on with bringing our 42-year-old drug laws into line with current policy and the views of those who make it.

Link to video

Russell Brown nails it again

Russell has been a major supporter of our work from the start, and was a catalyst in getting traction for the issue both politically and in the media.  He’s written an article for NZ Drug Foundation’s Matters of Substance about drug checking, and it’s well worth the read.

What I’d like to see,” says Allison, “is for the law to get out of the way of this – specifically, a change to section 12 to make an exception for harm-reduction practices. It’s a small change to the Act. It’s not condoning drugs, it’s not legalising – what it’s doing is decriminalising organisers who get us in.”

“The only solution ultimately will be an amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act,” agrees Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne.