© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

'Know your stuff' calls for help

Ruby Turnbull
Know Your Stuff 9 1200x900
A spectrometer, which is used to test what is in substances.  Know Your Stuff (Supplied)

New Zealand's drug testing agency is calling for funding and resources to continue its critical services.

Know Your Stuff is a non-profit social enterprise run by about 150 volunteers operating in collaboration with the New Zealand Drug Foundation. It offers harm-reduction services in relation to drugs; including the provision of factual information on drugs and drug testing.

With the Drug and Substance Checking Legislation Act being passed in September 2020, Know Your Stuff was allowed to test drugs at events without fear of prosecution. 

Media lead Yvonne Booysen said the organisation attended many festivals over summer and now needed more funding to continue keeping people safe. The spectrometers used for drug analysis, for example cost $60,000 each. 

She said more than half of the samples tested by Know Your Stuff contained Eutylone, a stimulant in the synthetic cathinone family, which was similar to MDMA but wore off faster leading people to take larger quantites.

The drug can have side effects such as anxiety, headaches, stomach upsets, agitation, and paranoia.

Booysen said the testing had changed conversations around drug use.

"People weren't aware that their drugs could most likely be another dangerous substance, so by normalising the conversation around drug testing we can aim to keep New Zealanders safe."

As seen on the Instagram page dedicated to Know Your Stuff, people are praising the organisation for keeping them safe. 

"I had a large amount of Eutylone, which was sold to me as MDMA and thanks to you guys me and my friends didn't end up taking it," said one person. 

"Testing is the best thing that could've happened! Second to this fine establishment existing," another source said.