NZ Drug Foundation and Know Your Stuff NZ breaking law to ensure a safe high for users

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1 NEWS

In a controversial move, the New Zealand Drug Foundation is knowingly breaking the law to enable drug users to get high safely.

The lobby group says debate is needed to take drug use from a criminal issue to being a health issue.
Source: 1 NEWS

The drug foundation, in collaboration with Know Your Stuff NZ, has recently acquired a radical new piece of machinery that can test the chemical makeup of recreational drugs- whether tab, pill or powder.

The technical name for it is Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, and the foundation and KYSNZ have taken it on the road to provide free drug testing at music festivals across the country.

Their aim is to inform drug users what chemicals they're actually about to take when they ingest the drugs in their possession.

"There’s all these new chemicals out there and people are dying because of those," the Drug Foundation director Ross Bell said.

"What we want to look at is how can we prevent that happening in New Zealand.

"We’re operating under a law that is 42 years old so New Zealand's misuse of drugs act was designed at a time when the black market was a simple place and now it's a complex place." 

Police say what the foundation is doing is illegal under the Misuse of Drugs Act

Almost a third of the drugs tested by the foundation weren't what they said they were.

In one example of the testing process, a festival drug user finds out a pill of MDMA actually contains an anti-psychotic.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said there is a bit of uncertainty surrounding existing drug laws that needs to be reviewed.

"The law I think is a little bit ambiguous," Dunne said.

"What the law talks about is knowingly permitting the consumption of drugs on premises. That's a slightly grey area, and i think there's a little bit of wiggle room."

Dunne said the Misuse of Drugs Act is set to be reviewed in the next couple of years.

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