The Green Party of Aoteaora New Zealand is welcoming Otago University Student Association’s collaboration with KnowYourStuffNZ and the NZ Drug Foundation to perform drug safety checking at orientation week events.
“This is a hugely positive step towards drug harm reduction,” Green Party Drug Law Reform spokesperson Chlöe Swarbrick says.
“I commend the tireless work of the Otago University Students’ Association in collaborating with the University community, their foresight and maturity in recognising the importance of drug harm reduction.
“Services will be provided by KnowYourStuff and the NZ Drug Foundation. Meeting with KnowYourStuff on Monday, I was struck by how their drug safety testing is merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of their contribution to society’s safety.
“Frequently, they’re receiving messages from panicked young people who have no idea where to turn to when their friends have reacted badly to substances of unknown origin and chemical make-up, afraid to go to authorities or access hospital help because of a fear of being arrested or messing up their future.
“The trust and respect they’ve built is proof of the crucial need for law to recognise this public service of saving lives. For nearly five years, KnowYourStuff have operated in a legal grey area off the smell of an oily rag, on the back of dedicated volunteers. Imagine how many emergency hospitalisations, young lives and medical hours could be saved if we formally backed this work.
“Congratulations to OUSA for being courageous enough to recognise the reality that we need to educate and minimise drug harm. This sets a leading precedent, illustrating a pragmatic appetite to evolve beyond archaic thinking and put safety of students front and centre.”