On National’s Unsafe Attitude Towards Drug Testing

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National are having a bad come down

Earlier this week, the Government announced that it was going to pick up one of the loose threads from the previous Parliamentary term – and pass measures to allow the testing of drugs at music festivals and the like, so as to reduce the risk of … well, serious harm occurring.

It’s a robust, evidence-supported policy that’s utterly uncontroversial in other parts of the world (although not Australia) – and therefore, it’s perhaps no surprise that the National Party remains bitterly opposed thereto. Because they assert that it “sends the wrong message”.

Which leads me to ponder whether the “right message” is young people dying or being injured in order to “scare the others straight”.

Last Term, it wasn’t alone in this. New Zealand First also blocked the bill that’d been put forward – and so it was defeated. But with the makeup of the House having changed considerably since then, it’s been brought back for another go. Where it shall pass.

And predictably, the Nats are somewhat aggrieved about that.

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Partially, it’s because the legislation has been brought forward under Urgency – with noted afficionado of Things Young People Like, Simeon Brown, taking issue with the Government’s apparent “priorities” as a result. Which, on paper, might sound like a semi-reasonable objection … up until you consider that it’s already early December with the House rising for Summer very shortly, during which time no legislation is passed – and that most of the drug-taking at music festivals etc. tends to take place, likewise, over the Summer.

Or, phrased another way – it actually makes sense to ensure that legislation that will be most relevant over the summer is in place before the summer.

However, leaving aside the Parliamentary process side to things (and I’m sure we could find any number of .. curious things the Nats had used Urgency to pass, previously) – it’s Simon Bridges who makes the most concise case for why the National Party remain resolutely opposed to seeing sense upon this matter.

Quoth Bridges: “National isn’t supporting the pill testing bill because it sends the wrong message on hard drugs to our young & it gives them a false sense of security. This law may result in more illicit drug use & more harm.”

These claims are, substantively, incorrect. Evidence from overseas does NOT show a greater use of drugs as the result of pill testing.

Indeed, it’s not hard to see how the converse is often more likely to be true: after all, what’s going to be more effective at getting somebody NOT to consume a pill they’ve bought. The ‘just say no’ message that’s already evidently failed? Or pointing out that the pill in question tested positive for rat poison – or the delightfully sobriqueted “Dr Death” [less commonly, but more accurately known as ‘para-Methoxyamphetamine’].

Meanwhile, the “false sense of security” is that which recreational drug-users currently may enjoy – by telling themselves that whatever they’ve bought is, in fact, what they’ve been told it is. Pill testing can actually help to re-inject not a “false sense of security” … but a “real sense of danger” – especially when, as is the case in some overseas jurisdictions, drug-harm information for various substances is also given out with the test results.

Bridges’ claim rests upon the reasoning that drug-testing may lead to an increase in drug-harm. It is difficult to see how such a claim can be supported, in light of the fact that drug-testing does not appear to lead to an increase in drug-taking – and also, as its actively intended purpose, keeps the more- and most-harmful drugs OUT of people’s bodies in the first place.

It’s simple – if we genuinely want fewer people taking harmful drugs … we should be making clear which ones the (more) harmful ones are.

I do appreciate the argument that allowing drug-testing to go ahead may seem like it’s providing some sort of moral stamp of validation to the otherwise-illicit conduct in question – but I don’t really see it that way; certainly not much more than seat-belts in cars provide a moral stamp of validation for driving fast or drunk and getting into automobile accidents [and I was … very surprised to find that these sorts of arguments were actually being made against seatbelts becoming mandatory, half a century ago].

The simple truth is that whatever one feels about the morality or the legitimacy of young people (and older people, for that matter), taking drugs at a festival – I don’t think many would be prepared to agree that this is a crime that ought carry a potential death sentence to it.

Even if some, apparently, do implicitly believe this to be the case. I can only presume that they don’t say so openly and overtly out of a fear that it would “send the wrong message” to the electorate about their values in practice.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Why would anyone with a brain bigger than a sultana expect anything different from these well past their use-by date totally irrelevant dinosaurs?

    • “Bridges’ claim rests upon the reasoning that drug-testing may lead to an increase in drug-harm.”

      Nope, they don’t care about harm. It’s pure virtue signalling: as with a lot of the no votes in the reeferendum, they’d rather be seen to oppose something than actually do anything to ameliorate the harms they’re supposedly so concerned about.

      • Yep, and it’s their ‘Christian values’ driving it all.

        The good news is it’s why they won’t be leading the country for at least another term.

        • And therein lies what Bridges and National crave the most, the drug of power and like most drugs will do anything and I mean anything to get it.

  2. Sincere question.

    The picture of Chucky shows her either giving yet another intimidating glare to her target…..or her falling asleep. Which is it?

  3. If we follow Bridges’ logic then testing more people for Covid would lead to a false sense of security leading to more harm from the virus. Test, test, test…but only if it supports the government agenda?

  4. All drugs defined as recreational drugs must be decriminalised. No more pointless, worthless, dangerous fucking about. If what ever the over paid corporate lackey charade it is that calls itself our ‘government’ refuses to do that then it’s not a government with our best interests at what ever it calls a heart.
    People take drugs. Get over it. Who cares why at this point?
    What matters in the immediate is that many, many people source drugs to have fun with primarily but that’s NOT the problem. What IS the problem is that we have no real idea what the fuck it is that we’re taking.
    ( Don’t dare use the dimwitted logical fallacy argument of ” Just say no.” )
    The secondary problem with illegal recreational drugs is that they become the domain of people who don’t care for their fellow humans and will sell them what ever they can get for what ever they can cook or pimp. AKA criminals. Criminals will tell you that snorting lighter fluid followed by a lit match is the best high ever if they think they can turn over a dollar. Well, it might be but it won’t be the high you think it is when your head lands two blocks away. Or you’re dying in A & E from coronary and respiratory failure and the doctors and nurses trying to save their lives have no idea what your son or daughter just took.
    This may come as a surprise to those of you still basking in the glory of your ignorance. People who take recreational drugs rarely want to die on the dance floor while having an awesome time.
    Judith Collins. Judith is a narcissistic sociopath and will be feeling miffed because no one’s fawning at her feet. Think Donald Trump in a frock? Judith’s pissed off because she can’t understand why people don’t think she’s as awesome as she believes herself to be.
    The best approach in regard to narcissistic sociopaths who would be politicians, police, teachers, lovers, husbands and wives in all permutations of the concept is to chip them so we know where they are and what they’re up to 24 hours a day seven days a week.
    Trust me. There’s no more dangerous a drug than the drugs that are released in the brain of those with a belief in a narcissistic sociopath but perhaps more so if they’re politicians like trump. The look on the faces of many of trumps fans is a look of literal madness and he induced it in them. I mean ? WTF?
    That look on Judith’s face is the look of a mentally unwell woman in my opinion. If she was plonked on a Balinese beach and given a proper E it’d revolutionise her entire life in my opinion.
    The USA state of Oregon reviewed its drug policies after studying Europe’s approach no doubt focusing on Portugal’s policies.
    [Their] drugs policies are working well so why are we still fucking around under a cloud of Calvinism begating ignorance? Who’s holding us back? Because it isn’t us. We’re hip to what’s going on generally speaking while our government’s behaving like a dumb baby with a hand grenade.

  5. So when can I get the weed I bought from an Otira tinny house run by the mongrel mob tested for fly spray and other insecticide or chemicals before I smoke it?

    • Control denied,

      I’m certain there are no tinny houses and or Mongrel Mob in the small but beautiful South Island township of Otira which highlights just how absurd and worthless your entire “input” aka drivel is. Perhaps you’ve already smoked enough insecticide.

  6. National’s policies on drugs precludes them from my voting considerations. Hopefully their reduced numbers mitigate some of the harmful opinions/propaganda they continue to spew.

  7. drugs yeah man give me some of that, and um criminals have quality standards as well because they want repeat buso. geezus why do we still pretend that our need to escape sometimes has to end up in a bad trip man. some of the trips I’ve taken recently have been awesome.

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