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Free, Legal and Discreet: KnowYourStuffNZ Drug Checking Services Available Throughout Southern This Summer

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This summer people who choose to take drugs as part of their celebrations can have their substance checked by KnowYourStuffNZ - a free, legal, and discreet service making sure people are taking what they think they are taking. 

“We’ve been operating since 2016, and in that time we’ve found that when we tell people that their substance is either not what they thought it was or contains additional, unexpected substances, more than half will then actively choose not to take it,” says Dr Brin Ryder PhD, from KnowYourStuffNZ.   

“We’ve been collating our drug checking data since we started drug checking and it shows that instead of condoning drug use as is sometimes feared, drug checking in fact reduces drug taking. We’ve found that people will often discard their substance when it’s revealed to be something other than what they’re expecting. This in turn reduces drug-related harm because they’re not taking a high-risk substance.  These findings are echoed by research in the UK, the US, and parts of Europe as well.” 

KnowYourStuffNZ drug checking clinics are available throughout Aotearoa, including Southland and Otago, and run in the spirit of confidentiality and evidence based, credible science. 

“The people who use our services are adults. We respect them and acknowledge that they have full autonomy over their bodies,” says Brin. “We don’t make moral judgements on what people should and shouldn’t do with their own bodies, and we don’t tell them what to do. We are fair, even-handed, and respectful in how we give information, and who we give it to. We respect people’s confidentiality.” 

The work KnowYourStuffNZ does is supported by health services, NGOs, and police as it is recognised as integral harm reduction work.  

“Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing the negative consequences associated with drug use,” says Dr Michael Butchard, Medical Officer of Health, National Public Health Service. “Harm reduction acknowledges that people will choose to take drugs regardless of the law. KnowYourStuffNZ reduces harm associated with that use by providing factual, proven information to drug users about the substances they intend to take so that they can understand the risks and make safer decisions. This helps reduce the risk of people needing medical care as a result of consuming a substance that wasn’t what they thought it was.” 

In the 2020-21 season only 69% of substances tested were what people thought they were. This is the lowest proportion to date since KnowYourStuffNZ has been running drug testing clinics. If you or someone you know plans to consume drugs this coming summer, go and get them checked. This will help you make informed decisions about what substances you consume. 

“Our team are always happy to have a chat with you about the substance you bring in to get tested and answer any questions you might have,” says Brin. “We are all about giving you the information to make more solid decisions about your own safety”  

For further information please visit 

How Testing Works 

  • You come and see us at either an event or a static testing clinic in our private testing area. Only people you feel comfortable with are allowed in the checking area with you. Nobody is allowed to take photos inside the checking area. 
  • You give us a sample of what you need checked. We only need a wee pile the size of a match head for the reagents, and another slightly bigger pile for the FTIR spectrometer. 
  • Depending on your substance we will do either one or two tests to find out what your substance has in it: a FTIR infrared spectrometer test, and/or a reagent test. 
  • Once we know what’s in your substance, we give you harm reduction advice about what we’ve found. You can make an informed decision about what you want to do from there. 

Upcoming clinics in Otago and Southland  

n.b. a full list of clinics around Aotearoa is available on the KnowYourStuffNZ website events page 







Synergy Wellness, Kaikorai Valley Road 



Synergy Wellness, Kaikorai Valley Road 











Armstrong Room, Lake Wānaka Centre, 89 Ardmore Street