NZ First leader Winston Peters is absolutely right when talking about illicit drugs being tested for safety purposes at large public events such as music concerts and festivals.
His party last week turned party-pooper on the Labour and Green-supported plan, which would have allowed pill testing services at events this summer.
• NZ First halts festival drug-testing policy proposed by Labour
• High point: Drug test change at music festivals
• The Conversation: Why doctors back pill testing at festivals
• Police Minister Stuart Nash wants drug testing kits at all music festivals by next summer
"It's been suggested that we should provide all the mechanisms for people to take a whole lot of pills down there to find whether pill taking is safe or not. We at New Zealand First say it's not safe, don't do it. If you want to live, then stick to things that are safe," he said.
"I think it's better to tell people that drugs and drug experimentation is an awfully risky and dangerous thing to do. Taking pills at festivals is a thoroughly bad idea."
Who could argue with that? It is a very bad idea, indeed. Nonetheless, we know people will continue to do it.
We don't want people taking these things but, more importantly, we don't want them to die or suffer life-diminishing consequences if they do.
Five people were admitted to hospital in critical condition after taking MDMA at an Auckland concert called Listen In at the weekend. MDMA is a psychoactive drug, otherwise known as ecstasy, resulting in increased energy, empathy, and pleasure. As it is illegal, there is no guarantee the little tablets being passed by hand amid pulsating lights and thumping music is a tolerable dose of ecstacy, or even is 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine at all.
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Four others were also arrested for disorderly behaviour offences during the Friday night event at Mt Smart Stadium for climbing on top of the 25m high marquee. That no one died seems to bear truth to the old saying that the Lord looks afer fools and drunks.
Police Minister Stuart Nash had wanted to set up drug-testing safety services at music festivals for young people this summer. His case was given some urgency after a pesticide was dicovered in an illegal drug seized by police at the Rhythm and Vines event at Gisborne in January. The same day, a festival-goer in Australia died of a drug overdose.
But NZ First has nixed the scheme, leaving Nash to seek support from the National Party, which looks unlikely after leader Simon Bridges went from cautiously supporting pill testing at the beginning of the year to saying it "sends the wrong message" when asked about it on Saturday.
But what of the message to young people that, by ignoring sound advice and breaking the law, their lives don't matter?
One of the rationales for legalising recreational cannabis is this is the only way we are ever going to control the potency - let alone the ingredients - of what many people are, rightly or wrongly, ingesting. Sure, we don't want people taking these things but, more importantly, we don't want them to die or suffer life-diminishing consequences if they do.
We're not condoning illegal drug use, and we're certainly not promoting it. But anything which gives our young people a better chance of surviving the turbulent ride that can be coming-of-age should be a no-brainer.