Not-for-profit takes ‘agnostic approach’ to festival drug use

Photo: Getty.

Drug use at festivals is the hot topic, after police reported one drug bust and several hospitalisations at Rhythm & Vines near Gisborne.

Wendy Allison, director of KnowYourStuff NZ, joins Tony Murrell on Summer Breakfast to discuss the organisation’s non-traditional approach to preventing drug use.

The not-for-profit organisation addresses the “lack of factual, proven information available to drug users” by providing free substance testing to discern its contents.

Ms Allison began the volunteer-based enterprise after noticing an MDMA copycat at a festival, which festival-goers continued to take despite the lack of information.

“It became very obvious that people were taking stuff without really knowing what it was,” she says.

At its core, KnowYourStuff NZ accepts that drug use will continue and instead takes an “agnostic approach” by simply providing information to users.

“It’s blatantly obvious they are going to do [drugs] anyway,” says Ms Allison.

“There is always drug use at festivals and events,” she says. “Anyone who claims that there isn’t has their head in the sand.”

Over half of users will ditch their drugs after getting samples tested by KnowYourStuff, explains Ms Allison.

“For some reason it seems to be ok for illicit drugs to be a mystery that comes with a potential death sentence,” she says. 

Listen to the full interview with Wendy Allison above.

Summer Breakfast with Tony Murrell, 6am - 9am weekdays on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.