Stuart Nash: Government won't pretend young people aren't doing drugs

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Section
Politics,
Publish Date
Thursday, 3 January 2019, 8:30a.m.
The Police Minister wants drug testing stations at music festivals by next summer. (Photo / NZ Herald)

The Police Minister says the Government's not going to bury its head in the sand and pretend young people aren't taking drugs at music festivals.

Stuart Nash wants to patch a legal grey area to allow drug testing services to tell people what's in their pills, so they know if there's anything nasty in it.

He hopes to see the stations implemented by next summer.

Nash says the Government is not condoning the use of drugs.

He told Tim Dower he loathes drugs and doesn't want people to be taking them - but the reality is, they are, and this change is about keeping people safe.

"What we've got is people taking drugs they have absolutely no idea what's in them. For most people, it works out fine, but for others, it doesn't."

Nash says an 18-year-old who's unknowingly bought a bad pill shouldn't pay with their life.

He says overseas evidence shows it's effective, and stops people being put in hospital.

"What they've found in the UK and Australia where they have these drug testing stations, is that hospitalisations due to bad drug experiences drop by about 95 per cent."

Kieran Spillane, the chief executive of the RnV festival, says any type of testing would be beneficial.

"if we can help the process of helping people making informed decisions and identifying what they are taking, it will be very, very beneficial. 

LISTEN TO STUART NASH TALK WITH TIM DOWER ABOVE

Andrew Dickens Afternoons

Andrew Dickens Afternoons

12p.m. - 4p.m.