NZ Has Permanently Approved Volunteer-Run Pill Testing At Music Fests And Hurry TF Up, Straya

new zealand pill testing music festivals

Huge news!! New Zealand has become the first country to legally allow pill testing at festivals without police supervising it. Hopefully, we’re next.

On Wednesday last week, the New Zealand Parliament passed the Drug and Substance Checking Legislation Bill. It’s legislation that permanently allows drug-checking services at festivals and other events to ensure that people are taking safe illicit substances.

For context, a temporary law was formerly in place but expected to expire at the end of the year. While similar systems exist in Switzerland and other countries, this is the first government-funded program of its kind in the world.

The bill was supported by New Zealand health minister Andrew Little, who based his decision on evidence that showed that drug-checking prevented people from taking poorly-made and dangerous substances. Hmmm, it’s almost like we should be doing it here, too.

The drug-checking service is being run by KnowYourStuffNZ, a volunteer organisation that’s been advocating for this Good Shit for seven years.

“The Act will provide permanent legal standing for our service and will allow other organisations to provide drug checking services as well,” KnowYourStuffNZ Managing Director Wendy Allison explained in a statement on their website.

“This will help ensure this vital service is accessible to more communities, and ultimately prevent more drug-related harm.

“There’s plenty of work to do but this feels like an achievement”, she added.

“We have been working towards this for seven years and so many people have worked so hard to get us to this point. Today we’re celebrating our success.”

According to a survey by New Zealand’s Victoria University funded by the country’s Ministry for Health, 68% of the people who’ve used the service said they felt it “changed their behaviour either through disposing of their substances after checking or through adhering to harm reduction advice.” 87% also admitted that they knew more about reducing harm while taking substances thanks to the service.

What’s the likelihood of this happening here, you might wonder? According to the Drug and Alcohol Foundation, an investigation into six drug-related deaths at festivals from 2017 to 2019 led a state coroner to recommend pill testing in NSW. In a survey back in November last year, two-thirds of participants supported drug checks at gigs and other events.

In news that surprises few, a study found that a majority of attendees experienced a “panic overdose” when they see a police presence at a festival while they’re trying to sneak a substance in. So, please Australia, please hurry TF up and follow suit.