Drug checking

Information about drug checking services and service providers.

What is drug checking?

Drug checking services conduct scientific tests on substances in order to indicate their likely identity and composition. Services test unknown substances (which may be illicit drugs), interpret results, and provide harm reduction information to a person who provides a sample.

The aim of these services is to help individuals to make more informed and safer decisions about whether or how to use a drug. It does not promote illicit drug use or claim that illicit drug use is safe.

Legal framework for drug checking

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 (the Act), the Director-General of Health can appoint drug checking service providers by way of notice in the New Zealand Gazette.

Appointed providers are allowed to possess illicit drugs for the purposes of drug testing. They can also supply the drugs to an approved laboratory for further testing.

The provisions of the Act that enable the appointment of drug checking service providers will automatically repeal in December 2021.

The government has introduced the Drug and Substance Checking Legislation Act (No 2) (the Bill) to enable a permanent licensing system for drug checking services. The Bill received its first reading on 18 May 2021. You can read the Bill on the New Zealand Legislation website, and follow its progress on the New Zealand Parliament website.

Appointed drug checking service providers

The Director-General of Health has appointed the following providers pursuant to section 35DA of the Act to carry out drug checking:

Trading name

Legal name


Gazette notice


Know Your Stuff Ltd


Gazette notice – 9 December 2020
NZ Drug Foundation NZ Drug Foundation www.drugfoundation.org.nz Gazette notice – 22 September 2021

More information

If you would like to know more about drug checking or how it is regulated, please email [email protected].

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