March 11th, 2016


Adrenal fatigue? What adrenal fatigue?

Off to Foo this afternoon. I'm not big on networking at the best of times and in my current state of mental and physical exhaustion I'd rather stay home and play videogames tbh. The thought of spending a whole weekend being 'on' and surrounded by smart, intense people is daunting.

But the fact is that it was going to Foo last year that was the catalyst for this year's success in getting pill testing recognised as a legitimate harm reduction measure. It went like this:

1. Pill testing happens at an event, I keep data.

2. I go to Foo with data, meet Russell Brown, share it with him.

3. Russell uses the data to write an article on harm reduction for NZ Drug Foundation journal, Matters of Substance.

4. NZDF invites me to speak at their winter panel series. It goes really well.

5. Several agencies contact me for interviews about pill testing, and Ross Bell (NZDF CEO) starts talking about it in public and in press releases.

6. Eventually the existence of pill testing reaches the notice of politicians, when it's pointed out how well it fits with the harm reduction focus of our new National Drug Policy.

7. Another event happens, I get more data - this time showing how pill testing can change people's intention to use a drug. I share this with agencies.

8. After NZ's first suspected cathinone-related death, Peter Dunne (Associate Minister of Health) comes out publicly in favour of pill testing.

This is where we're at now. If I hadn't been at Foo last year, this probably wouldn't have happened (at least, not in this way). It's worth going back to update people on where we're at with it, and to brainstorm and gather interest for the next stage.

What is the next stage? I think it'd be great to consolidate political support to develop some kind of official accord with enforcement agencies, which will allow the creation of an organisation that can do this work openly at events while minimising criminal risk to organisers and users. This needs motivated people, and Foo is full of them - and they know other people, and so forth.

So yeah, I might actually be braindead by Sunday evening, but surely it'll be worth it.