OUSA Finds Flaws in Government Drug Testing Policy

OUSA Finds Flaws in Government Drug Testing Policy

Castle Street flat volunteers to test drugs for free

OUSA wasted no time in giving feedback on the Government’s new Drug and Substance Checking Legislation Bill, hoping to make the bill less likely to screw students over. 

The submission, prepared by OUSA Political Rep Mhairi Mackenzie Everitt, outlines OUSA’s history with drug testing and overall support for the bill. It also recommended some key changes and noted that while decriminalisation is the best way to go, this bill will make inroads to “reforming the punitive drug system that currently exists in Aotearoa.” OUSA President Michaela Waite-Harvey was the one to orally present the submission to the select committee on 7 July.

The current form of the bill makes no effort to ensure the veracity of those applying for drug testing licenses, which opens up the opportunity for shady individuals to take advantage of the system and use it for their own personal gain, i.e. stealing some of your drugs under the guise of testing them. Thankfully OUSA knows their stuff, and is recommending strict control around licensing by ensuring that drug testing doesn’t become a for-profit industry.

Additionally, drug testing under current, temporary legislation is limited to events, so you can only check whether your dose is actually bath salts during an event. OUSA recommended a wider ability to get your drugs checked without the need for an absolute rager to be going on in the background. OUSA supported a national or regional lab where you can send your samples for remote verification. As the submission put it, this will “enable access to drug checking services remotely, or to those who are concerned with the ongoing stigma that can surround [access to] drug checking services.”

OUSA is looking out for the students and hopefully their submission is taken into consideration by the Health Committee. 

This article first appeared in Issue 14, 2021.
Posted 11:15am Tuesday 13th July 2021 by Alex Leckie-Zaharic.