The lumpen proletariat weigh in, in the comments at Stuff… sigh
It's some bleak shit. The howling lack of empathy in the "if you take drugs you deserve what you get" crowd.
But it's also indicative of the level of ignorance abroad. People literally don't know what they're talking about.
More from Stuart Nash, this time on Stuff:
Independent testing tents that let you know what's in recreational drugs could become a regular feature at New Zealand festivals, Police Minister Stuart Nash says.
"I think they're a fantastic idea and should be installed at all our festivals," he said. "But I need to see how it works and better understand the implications of it first."
The idea behind recreational drug testing is not to stop drug use but reduce harm, by letting consumers of illicit pills know if the drugs they are taking have been mixed with other dangerous chemicals.
"The war on drugs hasn't worked in the past 20 years, so it's time to change to a more compassionate and restorative approach," Nash said.
There's an interesting Reddit thread here, with contributions from someone who seems to have been working security at R&V.
It’s pretty clear that the first line in “intox assessment” and drug searches is event security, rather than police. He talks about busting a carload of young men on entry to the event, finding weed, a supply quantity of MDMA, scales and bags. They seem to have been almost stupid enough to deserve it. Less so these two girls, especially given that the default action seems to be confiscation:
Police were not checking cars neither were sniffer dogs involved.
Security staff on site were conducting vehicle, bag, and person searches on entry to the event. I mostly found booze, a couple of weapons, and MDMA and weed. Last night I was doing intox assessment at the main gate, and two girls stopped in front of me organising their bags. One of them said “do you have the fucking chewing gum?” So I searched the bags, found a small bag of MDMA, and passed them off to the Police who were standing nearby. My workmate found a bag of crack in the grass in the queue setup outside the bar he was working on.
But he does say this:
You’re right, we’ll never stop it so we take a safe approach to make sure they’re ok. Especially after the fiasco with the pink Porsche’s last year.
Managing the queues, 80% of the people buying drinks were on MDMA.
I fully support testing on site to make things safer.
Mark Latham was never PM, only opposition leader.
Oops - yes, thanks. It's hard to keep track!
Know Your Stuff have also responded to my request for comment, saying that some harm reduction is better than none, but:
the people doing it need to have experience in forensic testing with a harm reduction focus. The alert that was issued contained no information that would help people identify the substance and thus relies on an assumption that people would discard their drugs on the off-chance. This is highly unlikely given that NZers are accustomed to some risk associated with not knowing what's in their pills.
Additionally there is no information in the alert about symptoms that would help people to know if they are in danger.
We seek a consistent approach to alerting about dangerous drugs, and use the model published by Public Health UK (Appendix 7) for best practice in alerting about drugs.
We're willing to work with RNV and their people to help achieve this.
Here's Know Your Stuff with a model drug warning – and a significant one. A pill with a high level of n-ethylpentylone is a dangerous one.
I’d like to acknowledge Fiona Rae for her quiet efforts this year.
Blair Parkes has also written expansively, eloquently and honestly about his year involved in the twin processes of cancer discovery and treatment coupled with creating two damn fine albums.
As I just told someone else, the frankness and grace of that post was in my mind when I was writing this one yesterday. Blair's got soul.
There's something I did three months ago – a discussion of the possibilities and implications of CRISPR gene-editing for Auckland Museum's LATE series – that I was really proud of.
It finally played yesterday afternoon on RNZ and you can listen to it here. I'm also stoked that someone transcribed the discussion and made a story out of it!
I was also really happy with my story for Canvas on the emerging credibility of psychedelic therapy. You need your editor on board to do unusual stories like this and I'm madly grateful to Canvas editor Sarah Daniell for the chance.
I think my story for Matters of Substance on the nature of a good question for the cannabis referendum helped that debate in a material way.
And my interview with Lifewise CEO Moira Lawler, originally conducted for another feature that didn't go ahead, ended up standing strongly on its own. What Lifewise does is kindness in practical action.