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We can’t be naïve over drugs

July 12 2022 by Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult

First up, the following represents a personal view and is not reflective of Council policy. I do however have the support of a majority of elected members in making the following comments.

At the outset, let me state my abhorrence of recreational drugs. They are one of the greatest social evils of our time. Use of these drugs has ruined countless lives and families and led to the flourishing criminal gangs prevalent in our society today. I should also add that my abhorrence of these substances was shaped at an early age when a close friend from school days overdosed and drowned in his own vomit.

You may have heard of an organisation called ‘Know Your Stuff’. If you haven’t, Know Your Stuff encourages people who have purchased illicit substances (drugs) to have them tested before they take them. The premise of Know Your Stuff is very much that the best drug is no drug, but if you are going to take something, then know what it is before you put it in your body.

Many would understandably argue that this could perhaps be seen as encouraging drug use. I understand that point perfectly well but I also believe it is naïve to assume that young folk won’t continue to experiment and engage in recreational drug use. We’ve all seen recently the effects of the fentanyl debacle and the harm caused by that. That is one particular drug, as you all know, there are many, many more.

QLDC has been approached by Know Your Stuff for assistance in establishing themselves in Queenstown and Wānaka. They will not be operational all the time but will particularly target concerts and events where young people are likely to be present in significant numbers.

I am supportive of this move and have arranged for space to be made available for testers, equipment and support staff to be on hand for those high-profile events. Personally, I would much rather young people did not take drugs. However, I am not so naïve as to think that people won’t take drugs, and, as I said, at least this ensures that the fall out harm from drug taking is lessened.

QLDC is not providing any financial support but merely cooperating and supplying space where it is able to on a casual basis.

I repeat, the best drug is no drug, but drugs will be taken. Let’s do our best to keep young people safe.

- Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult