What is going on in the world of drugs
Drug Testing Statistics have been released by the not-for-profit organisation, Know Your Stuff, and it makes it a good time of year for everyone to be aware of the situation. Even for those of us who do not find ourselves anywhere closer to recreational products.
One in Five drugs that were handed in to be tested, including at the testing station that appears around campus, were not what they claimed to be. Often there were low levels of the “advertised” drug, but also extra fillers like caffeine or different substances. An alarming growth in cathinones should lead to extra caution, as these substances have contributed to hospitalisations overseas. This is an increase in last year’s statistics of drug trustworthiness but an overall decline since 2018.
The least trustworthy substances are psychoactives, with only 45% of samples providing conclusive results. Interestingly, the majority of unknown substances tested would reveal themselves to be MDMA, suggesting it is the most prevalent at the moment. That excludes cannabinoids, as drug testing services do not seem to receive many samples of weed to inspect. The few samples they did test were not conclusive.
Some people do not seem to care. With up to 42% of people saying they might take their pill anyway, even if it was not what they originally thought. Sometimes that was because they had already taken some, and it had not seemed to affect them, and sometimes it was because they did not have faith in the drug testing systems. This, also, is a jump from the 18% of people in 2021 who said they would still take the substance.
MDMA and Cocaine seem to be the drugs on the rise, according to Drug Testing NZ, which has also led to an increase in police seizures since 2016. Wastewater testing continues to show that per capita consumption of Cocaine is highest in Tāmaki Makaurau. Considered more of an “upper class drug” in comparison to Methamphetamine, which is more prevalent in Northland, and cannabis, which is more prevalent in the Bay of Plenty.
Many tested substances also included Ketamine. Following a pre-Covid warning by the drug-checking organisation, it has begun to increase in quantity again. It is an anaesthetic and can be very distressing to ingest when expecting something else. Equally, a warning exists for synthetic cannabis products, most commonly found alongside MDMA, as they have led to dozens of deaths in the last few years.
Research also shows that 66% of people admitted to hospital as a result of an overdose have been women. This is not to suggest that women use drugs more often, but that instead, a vast majority of men are not seeking help when it is needed, contributing to more male deaths from overdoses. Although, technically, the age range in which deaths occur most frequently is 45-55, the proportion of those under 25 is increasing. Check your drugs, everyone.
To the one individual in the last year who turned up to have their unknown, white and powdery drug tested that came to discover it was washing powder, I wish you the very best of luck in getting clean.