Darroch Ball: Pill testing stations no answer to party drug use

Magic Talk 18 July 2019
Family First Comment: Well said by NZ First’s Darroch Ball
“Contrary to some arguments, this is not a ‘health based approach’, as the people who are taking the drug are not the ones being treated. It is the drug itself that is being tested for purity and additives, which does nothing to deter the users from taking it. It seems as though we have almost given up trying to educate our young people, or to stop the drug-taking, and have instead opted to manage its use.” 

University orientation weeks and music festivals are synonymous with illegal, non-addictive, recreational drug use. And with Uni ‘Re-O-Weeks’ in full swing across the country at the moment, we’ll see more parties and a sharp uptake of drug use and the abuse that comes with it.

There are some calling for the Government to back pill testing stations at festivals and O-Weeks in order to reduce this growing problem. Pill testing stations test a user’s party pill, typically MDMA, for contaminants.

MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy or ‘E’, is not an addictive drug. The people who have chosen to take it are using it purely for recreational purposes, fully aware of the risks. Pill testing is not the equivalent of a wet-room or needle exchange, used in the treatment of addicts. It is instead solely designed as a quality control mechanism to determine what contaminants, additives, or other chemicals are in the substance.

By testing one pill from one individual there is no way of knowing if anyone else is taking the pill, how many pills are being taken, or what other drugs, including alcohol, the user has consumed – all of which are major contributors to deaths caused by ecstasy.

Contrary to some arguments, this is not a “health based approach”, as the people who are taking the drug are not the ones being treated. It is the drug itself that is being tested for purity and additives, which does nothing to deter the users from taking it.

It seems as though we have almost given up trying to educate our young people, or to stop the drug-taking, and have instead opted to manage its use. Handing over a pamphlet and giving advice about drug use achieves nothing in the middle of a music festival.
READ MORE: https://www.magic.co.nz/home/news/2019/07/darroch-ball–pill-testing-stations-no-answer-to-party-drug-use.html

NZ First pushes back on Police Minister’s music festival drug testing initiative
TVNZ One News 19 July 2019
The Police Minister’s plan to get pill testing in place before the summer music festival season begins is under attack by his coalition colleagues.

Stuart Nash revealed to 1 NEWS in January he wanted to change the rules around pill testing to ensure it was at festivals this summer.

“It saves lives, it save hospitalisations,” he said at the time. “It’s actually the right thing to do and it’s dealing with the reality in which we find ourselves.”

But New Zealand First MPs believe pill testing sends the wrong message.

Law and order spokesperson Darroch Ball said allowing pill testing stations at festivals was “blurring the lines between right and wrong and what’s illegal and not illegal”.

“We need to stop them taking it in the first place,” he told 1 NEWS today. “We’ve got to be very, very careful how we are trying to educate young people, especially in regards to the dangers of taking illegal dangerous drugs.”
READ MORE: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/nz-first-pushes-back-police-ministers-music-festival-drug-testing-initiative

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