50 signatures reached
To: MPs Stuart Nash
Legalize Drug Testing at Festivals/Concerts
This campaign has ended.
Adapt Section 12 Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, so that premises that provide a valid harm reduction policy are able to apply for a permit for drug testing to take place at their venue - and will not be able to be prosecuted for doing so.
We are advocating for an amendment of Section 12 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. Currently, under this act event organisers can technically be prosecuted, along with the volunteers, for carrying out drug checking on their premises, as they are 'knowingly permitting' the possession of illegal substances on their 'premises'.
We want this section of the Act to be adapted by allowing an exception - authorizing event organisers to apply for a permit to to allow a premises at their event where drug testing can legally occur, and volunteers (carrying out the testing), drug holders and event organisers will not be able to be prosecuted. Certain requirements must be met for this permit, including having a detailed and thorough harm reduction process - drug holders are told what is in the substance and the likely effects, how to stay safe, advised not to mix with other substances, and give drug possessor a tag (or any identifiable record) that shows the ingredients of their substance so if they get into medical trouble medics can quickly identify the substances they’ve taken. Permit holders will also be required to keep an anonymous record of what substances were in the drugs they’ve tested, and also required to ask whether the substance possessor will likely take the drug they have or not.
Why is this important?
Currently if festival/concert organisations allow the testing of drugs to occur in their premises, they are technically breaking the law and can be prosecuted. If organisations are able to apply for a permit to legally conduct drug testing at their premises - more festivals and concerts will do so thus ensuring the safety of drug users at festivals. There is widespread information and data to prove that more harm is done from the intake of a mixture of unknown substances by drug users, than the actual intended drug itself.
Drugs that are illegally sold to people in NZ may contain other unknown toxic substances, an unexpected high dosage - which can both be deadly, particularly when mixed with other substances such as alcohol. The drugs commonly used at festivals and concerts including LSD and MDMA, can consist of other more toxic or dangerous drugs that have similar effects to MDMA/LSD. The actual drugs themselves have a low risk of causing deadly effects to its users (however they are not completely harmless) when used in regulated and controlled environment. However, the impurities in these drugs from the black market and mixing with other substances (alcohol) increase the risk of deadly effects greatly. The additives and substitutes found in pills (including PMA, N-Ethylpentylone, NBOMes, Fentanyl) make the substance much more toxic and easier to overdose, and can have deadly effects such as heart attack, renal failure and stroke. The amount of people whose deaths are caused by party drugs are actually comparatively lower than that caused by alcohol, heroin and other substances. However, the public views them as causing more harm than they actually do, as media displays more incidents caused by them than other drugs.
Statistics (on KnowYourStuff.org) also show that people are less likely to consume their drug after having it tested and finding the substance(s) it contains, is not what they presumed it to be. Thus reducing the potential number of hospitalisations and dangerous effects. In Australia, festivals have found that introducing drug testing at their events have resulted in a reduction of hospitalizations by 95%. At the Groovin Moo festival in Canberra last year, drug testing revealed that 84% of people who had their substances analyzed thought that they contained MDMA, but in fact only 51% actually contained any MDMA at all.
It will also allow festival goers who have had their drugs tested to be given an identification card - so if they run into medical trouble during their time at the event medical staff are able to quickly identify what they have taken.
How it will be delivered
We will be emailing to the petition to several MPs & Ministers. (Simeon Brown, Jami-Lee Ross, Stuart Nash, Chloe Swarbrick)