The NZ Drug Foundation is celebrating the passing of the Drug and Substance Checking Legislation Bill (No 2) today, which provides a new permanent legal framework for drug checking services at festivals and clinics.

Executive Director, Sarah Helm, says it is a huge moment in the history of preventing drug harm in New Zealand.

“This is truly a moment to celebrate. It has been over three decades since the last significant gain was made, the creation of the needle exchanges in the late 1980s,” says Helm.

“For years, pioneering drug checking provider KnowYourStuff has been delivering this service with our support, working in the margins of the law at great risk to themselves to prevent harm to others. Today, it’s important we acknowledge the tireless and brave work of these volunteers, particularly Wendy Allison.

Helm says drug checking has proven to be a hugely effective harm reduction tool that saves lives by providing people with accurate information to make safer decisions. She is keen to see access expanded beyond festivalgoers.

“This new law provides a great opportunity to expand availability of services to more vulnerable communities,” she says.