Q+A: tool to keep drug users safe

Q+A will look at issues about treating drug users this morning:

In a controversial move, the New Zealand Drug Foundation is choosing to break the law in a bid to enable drug users to get high safely.

The Drug Foundation has purchased a radical new machine that is capable of testing exactly what is in recreational drugs such as MDMA.

They have been taking the spectroscopy machine around summer music festivals in New Zealand.

Over the course of the summer 11 percent of the drugs tested were what they said, but contained at least one other substance, while 20 percent of the drugs tested ended up being something completely different.

The Drug Foundation’s Executive Director Ross Bell told TVNZ’s Q+A “what we’ve seen around the world is that people are dying.

“There’s all these new chemicals out there and people are dying because of those, we want to look at how we can prevent that happening in New Zealand.”

Those behind the testing won’t say what festivals they’ve been to because festival organisers could be charged for allowing their premises to be used for drugs.

Police say that the testing is illegal under the misuse of drugs act.

The Drug foundation hopes they can move drugs from a criminal issue into a health one, making people think twice before taking a substance which they don’t know the contents of.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne told Q+A:

“I think it’s inevitable that when the misuse of drugs act is reviewed in the next couple of years that using these testing kits will be considered.”

He went on to say his own personal view is that he is in favour of the testing, as anything which can be used as a preventative measure and is the interest of public safety is a positive thing.

Dunne showed (again) that his preference is similar to the Drug Foundation’s, to deal with cannabis and other drug law quite differently, especially treating drug abuse and addiction as a health problem, not a law problem, little is likely to change under a National led government.

Watch: Q+A investigates a drug testing kit keeping drug users safe from harm

Also: Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne – does the drug testing kit win his support?



  1. whats this.. Dunne speaking ‘rationally’ about Drug Policy ! rather than his usual fear-mongering/hysteria.. but as long as we have Natz in power.. nothing will change, anytime soon.

    He actually sounded like he believes, the MODA should be dumped (in the next few years), BUT I’m not holding my breath, unless there is a change on 23/9 !!

    We need more ACTION & less misinfo./B-S as per comments from ‘the panel of experts’ after the Dunne interview

  2. Geez, if NZDF can break the law, perhaps MCANZ can to in the “public interest”?

    • @SLB

      Thats the only real way, we will get REAL change in NZ.. ‘shout it from the rooftops’: The Law is an ASS & its IS time for change NOW.. not in a decade or two !

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  July 3, 2017

        Mr Bumble said ‘the law is a ass.’ not ‘the law is an ass.’

  3. Shane Le Brun, your comment about the NZDF being able to break the law is typically disingenuous and typical of the Leftwing Slagging of our servicemen. Each soldier, sailor or airman found using illicit drugs will receive punishment far disproportionate to that faced by their civilian counterparts. That is a fact!
    The sooner people realise that misuse of drugs is a medical problem, not a criminal or social crime, the better. Plus the sooner you, Shane, realise that soldiers etc are the same people as you are except for the fact they are more likely to have to bleed for the country than any others like you Shane! Cheep talk from a small mind.

    • NZ Drug Foundation, Not NZ Defense Forces…… I made the mistake myself once
      Ironically, I am a former Serviceman, 8 years in the green Team as an ammo tech………

  4. Kevin

     /  July 3, 2017

    Fake MDMA is likely to be PMA or even a mix of methamphetamine and other drugs. Cheaper to manufacturer than the real thing, more profitable, and a lot more dangerous. And even if it’s genuine there’s still the danger of an Ecstasy pill containing much more MDMA than expected and MDMA is very dose sensitive. Of course it was legal and regulated there wouldn’t be these problems.


    Then there’s synthetic LSD. This stuff is even worse than synthetic cannabis. Synthetic LSD can kill you. With real LSD you would probably get permanent psychosis way before you consumed enough for it to kill you. Again, if LSD was legal there wouldn’t be this problem.

    At the very least I hope the government allows testing as it will literally save lives. Question is how many deaths or near deaths is it going to take before the government wakes up?