Media Release 19 February 2019
Family First NZ says that allowing drug use and drug testing at university orientation weeks is flawed and dangerous, and is being used by drug-friendly groups and a government apparently soft-on-drugs as a wedge for the normalisation of drug use.
“The Otago Student’s University Association is confused when they say that they ‘in no way condones drug use of any kind’ and that this is a ‘proactive move against drug use’. To most thinking people, that is laughable. Promoting and requiring drug-free events (similar to alcohol and smoke-free events) is not a ‘hardline’ approach – it’s a health and safety approach based on best practice. Drug overdoses are a huge concern, and testing won’t protect users because there is no such thing as a safe drug,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“Pill testing will be seen by many students as a clear endorsement of drug use. It sends a message that illicit drugs are acceptable and can be ‘safe’, and will worsen harmful drug use, so that more lives will be put at risk with the belief that the drug they are taking is somehow ‘safe’.”
“Pill testing also does not – and cannot – guarantee that the drug being taken will not cause any physical or mental harm or death to the individual consumer. It also cannot account for the individual’s physiological response to each drug.”
“It is being promoted by drug friendly groups – which says it all.”
Drug-Free Australia has provided research showing that according to the medical literature the accelerating number of Australian deaths from ecstasy are mostly not from overdosing, nor, according to coroners’ reports, are they due to impurities in party pills – but rather from individual reactions to drugs.
The President of Drug Free Australia recently sent an Open Letter to NZ politicians, saying
“We are urging you, as a parliamentarian who makes evidence-based decisions for the well-being of your nation’s individuals, to totally reject any further discussion on pill testing in New Zealand until such time as its advocates have demonstrated from available NZ Coroners’ reports that
- it is NOT the substance MDMA, or MDMA in a polydrug use context, which is chiefly responsible for the many NZ deaths; or
- that most of the deaths are alternately from MDMA consumed in amounts beyond what is considered normal for recreational use.”
“If pill testing is pursued with government approval, the inevitable result will be more people willing to use the substance on the false assumption that they are now safe.”
“This is simply another ‘facilitated’ ill-informed decision to consume illicit drugs. Students should enjoy orientation week and stop playing Russian Roulette with drugs and with their lives.”
“Advice from Victoria Police tells us it can give people a false and potentially fatal sense of security about illicit drugs.”
Victorian government spokesman, Jan 2019.
“Public statements made by politicians that the trial would help ‘keep people safe’ were potentially misleading. MDMA is not a safe drug… The whole concept is based on the false assumption that if you do know what you’re taking, it is safe – something that is absolutely untrue.”
Toxicologist Andrew Leibie, from Safework Laboratories, Oct 2017