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Pseudoephedrine: what you need to know

Pseudoephedrine is back on the shelves. Here's what you need to know about this cold & flu medication.

Taking benzos? Help shape NZ research

We talk to master's student Caitlin Toohey, who is researching benzodiazepine use in New Zealand.

Ketamine bladder is not pissing around

A paper in the New Zealand Medical Journal has highlighted concerns about increasing ketamine use leading to more diagnoses of ‘ketamine bladder’. But what actually is ketamine bladder?

The study on Asian New Zealanders' use of drugs

Winner Tian, General Manager of Asian Family Services, talks to us about a new study that has found that Asian New Zealanders use alcohol and other drugs at higher rates than previously thought.

How to use nitazene test strips

Nitazenes are potent opioids that could be in your drugs. Here's how to use a nitazene test strip to find out if your drugs contain nitazenes.

Potent opioid found in fake diazepam

Blue fake diazepam pills that actually contain a potent synthetic opioid called N-Desethyletonitazene are being sold in New Zealand.

Fill me in: Common drug fillers and binders

Drugs are often diluted or ‘cut’ with fillers, like lactose or sugar. We take a look at some of the most common fillers and what the risks are.

What we learnt from checking 2602 drugs last year

Nearly 1 in 5 drugs were different to what the person thought they had

Still Tripping: What is HPPD?

Ever heard of acid flashbacks? Had visuals while sober that remind you of tripping? There’s a term for this: Hallucinogen Perception Persisting Disorder (HPPD).

The NZ study that ranks drugs by harm

Otago University researched ranked 23 drugs by they harm they cause to individuals and communities. Here's the results.

After the trip: mental health & psychedelics

We talk to a psychotherapist about looking after your mental health during and after a psychedelic trip, and how to make sense of your experience.

Where to get naloxone this summer

Naloxone is a medicine that can quickly reverse an opioid overdose. Here's where you can get naloxone for free.

Fake yellow oxys: What you need to know

Yellow tablets sold on the dark web as oxycodone have been found to contain metonitazene, an extremely potent opioid that can be lethal at very small doses. Here's what you need to know.

Drugs and ADHD

5% of the population has ADHD, but only 1-2% are diagnosed with it. We wanted to know: where does that leave those with ADHD who don't have a diagnosis, and what are they doing to get by?

Bromazolam and other novel benzos

Here's what you need to know about novel benzos like bromazolam.

Four stories of drug use and mental health in Aotearoa

Four people chat about how their mental health and drug use impact each other.

What is n-iso?

New Zealand’s drug checking organisations have been seeing something called n-isopropylbenzylamine lately. Here's what we know.

What happened in Hawke's Bay

In August, several people ended up in hospital after taking what they thought was MDMA. Here's what we know and how you can stay safer.

After the party - how one man changed his relationship with meth

One man talks about his experience with ReWired, a programme for gay and bisexual men who use meth during sex (e.g. PnP) and want to change their relationship with the drug.

New study to look at use of natural health products

Many people have used natural health products to feel a buzz, to ease a hangover or to enhance the effects of recreational drugs. Rayna Sharma is a researcher on a mission to find out more.

New Zealand's largest ever MDMA study

Otago University psychology PhD student Jai Whelan recently conducted the largest ever national study of MDMA use in New Zealand. Here's what Jai learned.

What is lemon tekking?

It’s mushroom foraging season here in Aotearoa and we’ve been hearing from a growing number of people who are trying lemon tekking, so we wanted to explore what it is, why people are doing it, and how you can stay safer if you’re trying it out.

What you're Googling about: Shrooms 

This week we’re starting a new series of articles where we answer the most common questions New Zealanders are asking Google about drugs.

Blue meanies and gold tops: Shroom safety tips from an ecologist

It's getting dark early, the days are getting colder, and it’s been raining. If all that rain has you thinking about foraging for magic mushrooms, the first thing we’d tell you is don’t go it alone – find someone who can help identify your shrooms.

What we found at drug checking in 2022

Drug checking is a free and legal process that helps people find out what’s really in their drugs. Here's what we found at drug checking clinics throughout 2022!

What you need to know about alpha-PVP

Alpha-PVP is a stimulant drug and a synthetic cathinone. We've been seeing this in New Zealand, so here's what you need to know.

The real lives of sex workers

The Level Community Activator Ngaire talks to three sex workers about their experiences with drugs.

What’s the T? Study on drug use in trans & non-binary communities

University of Auckland Masters student, Taine Polkinghorne, wants to know more about the ways that Aotearoa’s trans and non-binary communities use alcohol and other drugs.

What’s happening with roadside drug testing?

New random roadside drug testing was supposed to begin this month in New Zealand, but its rollout has been delayed.

After the storm: Managing withdrawal

People with addictions living in communities impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle may now be experiencing a forced break from drug use. If you or someone you know is now experiencing withdrawal symptoms, here are some tips on getting through:

Pack your bags before your trip

Psychedelic experiences can be mind-blowing, eye-opening, challenging, hilarious, terrifying and magical – sometimes all at once. If you're choosing to use psychedelics, here are a few ways to help things go more smoothly.

How to keep your kids safe if you're using drugs

Nearly all parents take drugs from time to time, whether it be alcohol, tobacco, or something illicit. We explore ways for parents to keep their kids and themselves safer if they're using drugs.

Drug harm reduction and Auckland flooding

Our thoughts are will all those affected by recent flooding in Tāmaki Makaurau. Here are some suggestions of things to consider to keep safe and well if you're planning on using drugs. 

Safer using: Crush, mix, measure

Like the chocolate chips in a cookie, your drug might not be evenly distributed throughout your pill or baggie.

Here's what we're seeing at drug checking clinics

Ahead of summer, here's a look at what's showing up at drug checking clinics across Aotearoa.

What I wish I learned before I started taking drugs

The Level Community Activator Ngaire reflects on how learning about harm reduction could have helped in her earlier life.

What overdose data can teach us about staying safer

A new report shows that deaths from drug overdoses have risen 54% over the past five years. We’re digging into the facts to find out what these can teach us about staying safer.

How cultural assumptions keep us from combatting harmful drug use

A lack of meaningful research has created a void of understanding about how a large portion of our population uses and doesn’t use drugs. This piece was originally published on The Spinoff by Naomii Seah.

Nitazenes: what you need to know

We're seeing more potent opioids, like nitazenes, in New Zealand. These have been linked to deaths overseas. Here's what you need to know.

Why does The Level exist?

Despite more than half a million New Zealanders using illicit drugs every year, information to make drug taking safer remains limited. Executive director of the NZ Drug Foundation Sarah Helm explains how they’re changing that with The Level.

How does drug checking work?

We teamed up with comedian Janaye Henry to explain the ins and outs of drug checking. It's a simple process that helps you stay safer by finding out what's really in your drugs. 

Meet our Community Activators

We're excited to introduce our new Community Activators, people who have diverse backgrounds and connections to communities of people who use drugs in New Zealand.

The science on testing for cannabis

We know that breath testing is a generally reliable measure of alcohol intoxication, but the same isn't true for cannabis. We dove into the science to find out why.

Overdoses: What to watch out for

Worldwide, the 31st of August is Overdose Awareness Day. We've put together a quick guide on spotting overdoses from a few common drugs, and what you can do to prevent them.

Using drugs alone

The Level talks to two people about staying safer if you're using drugs alone, and explores some of the reasons people choose to use drugs by themselves.

Sex, drugs and staying safer

There are some common effects you may experience while having sex on certain drugs. We go through a few of them - plus tips on how to be safer.

How to use injectable naloxone

If you think someone is overdosing on opioids, it's important to act quickly. Naloxone is a medicine that quickly reverses opioid overdoses.

A new type of drug campaign: TV ads to reduce drug harm

The student-led short series tackles some of the uncomfortable realities of drug and alcohol use that are seldom represented in Aotearoa New Zealand’s media.

Can't get prescription cannabis? Read this and stay safer

Despite medicinal cannabis being legal in Aotearoa, around a quarter of a million kiwis are buying their medicine from a completely unregulated illegal market, with no quality control whatsoever. We asked two leading experts to share some harm reduction tips to keep them safer.

What a Rush: a short history of poppers in New Zealand

Poppers: you might know these little amber bottles of inhalant as ‘rush’, ‘amyl’ or ‘leather cleaner.’ We're delving into the role of poppers in the gay community, their odd legal status and what to expect if you're using.

Fentanyl in Wairarapa - Everything you need to know

Over Matariki weekend 2022, fentanyl was detected in a white powder sold as cocaine and meth that has led to the hospitalisation of 12 people.

How to use fentanyl test strips for powders or pills

Fentanyl is a drug that is often used medically to relieve pain. Only extremely small doses are needed to have an effect and a few micrograms extra can cause an overdose. This is why, if you’re not expecting fentanyl, you might unexpectedly overdose.

What you need to know about High Alert's recent notification

You may have heard about a brown powder – sold as MDMA, that has been linked to some hospitalizations recently (more info on the High Alert website).

What’s in your dose? NZ study to examine Kiwi microdosers

University of Auckland PhD candidate, Estelle Miller, wants to know more about New Zealanders who microdose. 

What's up with GHB these days?

GHB/GBL/1,4-BD (aka G, wazz, fantasy, liquid ecstasy) has been in the news lately. We're taking a closer look at what's going on and ways to stay safer. 

What the new roadside drug testing law means for you

From March 2023, police will be able to conduct random roadside drug tests on any driver on New Zealand roads. Here's what that means for you.

A different kinda party: Chemsex 101 

Better known as party ‘n’ play or PNP here in New Zealand, chemsex refers to combining certain drugs with sex, and is associated pretty exclusively with men who have sex with men.  

What to expect when you visit a needle exchange

Here’s what to expect if you’re heading to a New Zealand needle exchange outlet for the first time.  

Talking smack and panic attacks

Talking smack and panic attacks: An autopsy of the time I snorted some pills and had a freak out. What went wrong and what I wish I'd known.  
By a member of The Level. It was day two of the music festival.

What is The Level?

Kia ora, Welcome to The Level.   The Level is a straight up guide for people who use drugs.   

He aratohu tōtika The Level mā te hunga whakamahi whakapōauau.

Drug checking: what to expect

So you've got yourself a baggie of [insert your drug of choice here], but you want to make sure your drug is what you think it is: that's where drug checking comes in.

Fake benzos: what you need to know

Benzodiazepines, benzos, trip killers, Xannies: whatever you call them, it’s important to know that these drugs are not all made equally. In fact, a benzo you get from a doctor is unlikely to be the same as one you might buy online, off a mate or from a dealer.

If it's not MDMA, what is it?

A quick run-down on all the stuff that's pretending to be MDMA but isn't. Last summer, 31% of drugs sold as 'MDMA’ that were checked by KnowYourStuffNZ weren't MDMA, or were a mix of MDMA and something else.

Making changes to your cannabis use

This information was originally shared on PotHelp, a previous version of this site.  You can watch more personal stories from people who have cut down on their cannabis use here.  You can also order a free copy of our workbook on cutting down your cannabis use.

How to use reagents to test MDMA

If you can't get your drugs checked at a clinic, here's how to use reagent tests at home to find out if your MDMA is what you think it is.

Covid-19, the vaccine and drugs

Covid-19, the vaccine and drugs: a research summary.  

Covid-19 has resulted in an information overload for many of us, and it can be hard to understand what information to trust, especially when it comes to our health.

Why I volunteer to check people's drugs

Jake* became a volunteer with drug checking service Know Your Stuff after a particularly scary experience with MDPV, a synthetic cathinone that Jake believed was MDMA. Jake shared his experience, what he's learned and why he wants to ensure nobody has to go through the same thing.

How to use Ehrlich's reagent to test LSD

Drug checking using reagent tests can help you find out if your LSD is what you think it is.  

Why should I test my LSD? LSD, acid, or tabs are nicknames for the hallucinogenic drug lysergic acid.

All about The Global Drug Survey

Update: The Global Drug Survey is running again in 2024! Hit the link to complete the 2024 survey. Or read on for more info about the Global Drug Survey. From acid to Xanax, this year's Global Drug Survey team are collecting experiences across the spectrum of drug use.

Summer drugs: what we know, and how to be safer 

Festival season in New Zealand is about to ramp up. But at UK festivals this year, a lot of people had drugs that weren’t what they thought they’d bought. Find out more about the drugs we might see - like MDMA, cathinones (bath salts) and more.

Picnic trips: Using drugs outdoors

If you’re planning on using drugs outside on those long summer days, here are a few things to keep in mind. 

Meth and COVID-19: How to be safer

We spoke to experts and looked at the latest research to bring you the straight up information on Covid-19 and methamphetamine.

High-minded: how mental health can affect your high

For Mental Health Awareness Week, we talked to Phil Glaser, one of the team behind The Level, about how your state of mind has a bigger impact on your trip than you might think.

Meet Emmaline Pickering-Martin who works with whānau across Aotearoa

For Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, we’re highlighting some of the great work that various kaupapa Māori alcohol and other drug support services do throughout the motu. And we’re asking them what kupu (words) best describe their approach.

Tika, pono & aroha: Kaupapa Māori support in Te Awakairangi

For Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, we’re highlighting some of the great work that various kaupapa Māori alcohol and other drug support services do throughout the motu. And we’re asking them what kupu (words) best describe their approach.

How to use Nyxoid to reverse an opioid overdose

“We got our hands on naloxone to keep at our house, but it was too late, we’d already lost a friend. We kept thinking, if only we had it a few days earlier… if only we knew.

Popping the bubble: Quick tips if you're choosing to use drugs in Level 2

It can be a bit weird adjusting back to life outside your bubble, so we’ve pulled togther a few key tips to help you out if you choose to use drugs.

Calling an ambulance during lockdown - advice from a paramedic

Wondering what happens if you need an ambulance during lockdown? Blake Murray from St John answers your questions.

Advice from people who have used during lockdown

Thinking about using drugs during lockdown? Here are some practical tips from people who did.

Advice from the NZ Needle Exchange

Lockdown can be a really challenging time for people that inject drugs regularly. Here's some advice on how to look after yourself and be safer.

Opioid treatment during lockdown

Need opioid treatment during lockdown? Here's how to access support and some tips to be safer.

What are reagent tests?

Learn about reagent tests and how they can tell you what is in your drugs.

What are fentanyl test strips?

Learn about fentanyl test strips and how they can help you avoid an overdose.

A heads up on harmful synnies

Seen or heard recent reports about a particularly dangerous batch of synthetic cannabinoids? Find out more here.

How to do a sinus flush

Follow these steps to rinse out your sinuses and get rid of things that can cause irritation.

Paranoid Magic

This experience was shared by a young, queer Māori man as part of Rewired - a support group for men who have sex with men and use methamphetamine, run by the NZ Aids Foundation and NZ Drug Foundation.

Matthew's Story

"The first few goals I started setting was gaining employment and a place to live where I felt comfortable."
Matthew shares his experience setting goals and opening up to people.

Rachel's Story

"For people to see who you are and not to see you as your addiction, that's huge"
Rachel shares her journey through addiction into recovery.

Our Focus: meth use or meth harm?

Professor Nicole Lee shares the latest on methamphetamine at the NZ Drug Foundation's On the Road to Health Symposium, held in May 2021.

Dylan's Story

"My passion for music was kind of going down, and that's when I knew, like, will I ever get it back?"
Dylan shares his experience finding his passion for music again.

Fear of the Ogre

This experience was shared by a member of Rewired - a support group for men who have sex with men and use methamphetamine, run by the NZ Aids Foundation and NZ Drug Foundation.

Thinking about your drug use

Anna, Andre, Hera, and Cynthia share some things to think about when looking at your substance use in this short video made during the April 2020 lockdown for Covid-19.

Talking with someone about their drug use

Anna, Andre, Hera, and Cynthia share some tips on how to talk with someone about their substance use in this short video made during the April 2020 lockdown for Covid-19.

Now I'm 33

This experience was shared by a member of Rewired - a support group for men who have sex with men and use methamphetamine, run by the NZ Aids Foundation and NZ Drug Foundation.

Honesty and Sobriety

This experience was shared by a member of Rewired - a support group for men who have sex with men and use methamphetamine, run by the NZ Aids Foundation and NZ Drug Foundation.

Namaste

This experience was shared by a member of Rewired - a support group for men who have sex with men and use methamphetamine, run by the NZ Aids Foundation and NZ Drug Foundation.

Improving Prevention Webinar

UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs online side event discussing emerging and established responses for prevention of drug use and harms presented in April 2021.