Users of recreational drugs will soon be able to testing at festivals, in clubs and for personal use. New Zealand is the first country in the world to do this.
This full legalization of testing allows users to test their substances at music festivals and for general use without consequences. This is part of a bill passed at the end of November. The new law will take effect on December 6, Filter Mag reports.
Drug testing pilot program becomes permanent
The pilot program for testing drugs, which was approved in December 2020, was set to expire in December 2021. The Ministry of Health suggested making the pilot permanent in April, prompting new laws.
According to data published in a report in February 2021, 68 percent of pilot participants changed their behavior as a result of using the service. 87 percent said they had gained a better understanding of the dangers of drug use after talking to those providing the service.
Possession of drugs remains illegal
The New Zealand bill does not make the possession, purchase or sale of drugs legal. It means that if a music festival, or any other company, chooses it, it can operate an on-site drug testing facility.
In addition to testing, there is also prevention. Information and advice will be made available from providers recommended by the government. This is aimed at preventing health damage and helping people make informed decisions about the use of drugs and psychoactive substances. Harm reduction information and advice to help individuals make informed decisions about the use of drugs and psychoactive substances.
Preventing drug deaths
Last month, the New Zealand government also announced it would fund $800.000 NZD ($545.581 USD) to train drug controllers and coordinate drug security services. Sarah Helm, Executive Director of the NZ Drug Foundation, told VICE World News: “It's really important and a time to celebrate. This prevents damage and saves lives. Drug control is a hugely effective harm reduction tool because it gives people accurate information to make safer decisions. We would now like to see the services expanded to reach more people.”
Drug researchers in the UK believe the government should take a similar approach here. Katya Kowalski, Head of Strategy at Volteface: “Drug control is a necessary and life-saving policy. Much of the damage and tragedy of drug deaths at festivals is avoidable.
“Having individuals tested for purity and potency allows them to make an informed, safer decision. “The UK should take New Zealand's pragmatic approach to protecting people who use drugs, and adopt an evidence-based approach to prevent further tragedies. If the UK is serious about reducing drug-related harm, legalizing drug control should be a top priority.”
Katya explains that while drug testing is taking place in the UK, there are some legal loopholes. Organizations such as The Loop, which test substances at festivals and large-scale events, do this together with the police. There is no written legislation explicitly enacting laws around drug testing in the UK, but buying individual home drug testing kits online is legal. In the United States and other countries, volunteers who perform the work are at risk of criminal prosecution.
Read more mixmag.net (Source, EN)