Why is New Zealand doing this?
Based on the newest information from the Ministry of Well being, round 9 p.c of New Zealanders have used a bootleg drug up to now yr, with hashish the most well-liked. Artificial hashish is a typical downside, with greater than 40 deaths related to the drug reported in 2018. (The nation narrowly voted in opposition to legalizing marijuana in a referendum final yr.) Medication are the third commonest cause younger persons are kicked out of faculty.
Whereas New Zealand has lengthy struggled with methamphetamine abuse, social gathering medication are more and more frequent. In 2019, the New Zealand police seized greater than two million Ecstasy tablets and their equivalents, up 560 p.c from 2018.
It’s these social gathering medication particularly which have resulted in harm or demise, generally because of folks taking mislabeled or contaminated medication. This yr, KnowYourStuff acquired nearly 1,000 messages from festivalgoers who reported atypical reactions to medication bought to them as MDMA, together with paranoia, seizures, extreme nausea and days of insomnia. The medication are believed to have been contaminated with artificial cathinones.
Talking in Parliament final yr, Andrew Little, the minister of well being, emphasised that the present New Zealand authorities noticed drug coverage as a well being matter quite than a felony one.
A prosecution-led method has not labored, he mentioned, including: “It’s not altering. If we need to change behaviors, then we’ve obtained to take a special method.”
However does it work?
The information is spotty, however promising.
A survey from Victoria College discovered that 68 p.c of surveyed festivalgoers who used the testing providers modified their habits, with some decreasing the quantity they took whereas others disposed of their medication altogether.
An identical research held at a competition in Canberra, Australia, in 2019 discovered that “all those that had a really harmful substance detected disposed of that drug within the amnesty bin.”