New Zealand adopts Legislation requiring drug testing

Wellington: After a bill was passed earlier in the day, New Zealand Health Minister Andrew Little said drug-checking services will continue to operate legally at festivals, pop-up clinics, university orientation, and other locations this summer and beyond. According to sources, the services have been permitted since last summer under interim legislation that will expire next month. 

The Health Minister said in a statement that the Drug and Substance Checking Legislation Bill (No. 2), which passed its third reading and will take effect on December 7, means services may now continue and be expanded as needed.

"This legislation is about keeping people safe," he added, noting that current drug-checking agencies have found and captured potentially lethal chemicals in the community. When people are told that narcotics aren't what they think they are, they're more likely to refuse to consume them, perhaps sparing lives, the minister said.

According to research conducted on behalf of the Ministry of Health by Wellington's Victoria University, 68 percent of festival-goers who used drug-checking services indicated they modified their behaviour after seeing the results. Three additional drug-checking organisations have also been authorised by the government.

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