NZQA says ‘date rape’ drug question was appropriate for chemistry exam

schoolStuff 21 January 2015
Scholarship students sitting their chemistry exam at the end of last year were asked to explain the reaction process that takes place in a date-rape drug.

In the NCEA exam administered by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) students were told rohypnol, commonly known as roofies, was a “controversial sedative which has sometimes been used to spike people’s drinks”.

An NZQA spokeswoman said the exam papers were written by a team including experienced teachers who were currently teaching at scholarship level.

“All examination papers undergo a sensitivity check and this examination did go through that process.”

Family First national director Bob McCoskrie said teenagers needed to be aware of the effects drugs such as rohypnol, marijuana, methamphetamine and party pills had. Knowing the chemical process and reaction involved was a good thing and, while he understood some people might think it gave teenagers the wrong idea, most of them knew about those drugs already.

“There would be a red flag if it was glamourising or condoning it, but given it’s a technical question then education is actually key. Hopefully it will be a deterrent more than anything,” he said.