Drug testing in Wellington reveals antipsychotic medication in drug samples

Voluntary drug testing in Wellington has revealed what's going around in the capital's drugs - and it's not all good.

The joint venture between the Drug Foundation and Know Your Stuff allows potential users to bring a sample to a static clinic to check what they might ingest beforehand, an initiative which hopes to reduce drug-related harm.

In a statement to Newshub, Know Your Stuff said the sixth and final session of the pilot in Wellington tested 37 substances.

Twenty-nine of these were presumed by their owners to be ecstasy, or MDMA. The rest were "a variety of known substances", according to Know Your Stuff.

All but four tested as what they were supposed to be. Three of those were quetiapine - sold under the trade name Seroquel - an antipsychotic drug usually used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar and depressive disorders.

Drug testing in Wellington reveals antipsychotic medication in drug samples

"While it could make someone feel a bit unwell [it] would be unlikely to cause serious harm,"  Know Your Stuff managing director Wendy Allison told Newshub. "The owner of these chose not to take them."

The testing also picked up two previously unknown substances, Allison says.

"This was session six of a six-month trial of static checking and has seen uptake grow considerably over the time," she told Newshub.

"We will now review the trial and make decisions about static checking into the future."

It comes the same week as the Government announced funding for a Victoria University criminologist team to study the impact of drug testing at festivals and whether it reduces harm.

This is the first study of its kind in New Zealand and will cost $59,000.

"There's no way to make illegal drug use completely safe - all drugs come with risk. But we can and must reduce harm wherever possible," Health Minister Dr David Clark said last Wednesday.

"This research will tell us whether drug-checking programmes, such as the work of Know Your Stuff, are making a difference and helping keep people safer."