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.
We created The Level so that people who use drugs (and their loved ones) can get information that has no bias, no agenda and no bullshit.
When we were interviewing people before creating the website, something that stood out to us was that people were turned off by black and white messages like “it’s safest not to use drugs.” The Level exists in the real world where people use drugs, but they also deserve accurate information about how to stay safer without judgement.
That’s why being straight up is at the core of The Level. We've used the latest research to support everything we write for The Level. We want our info to be as accessible, non-judgemental and factual as possible.
Now, you may be asking yourself, who is this ‘we’. Great question!
Who is behind The Level?
The Level is created by the team at the NZ Drug Foundation. We are an independent charity that has stood up for sensible changes to drug policy (including legalisation of cannabis and drug checking) for almost 30 years.
We want to see an Aotearoa free from drug harm. That means moving beyond just telling people not to take drugs, and instead meeting them where they're at with info on staying safer and support to make changes.
We all have our own different backgrounds and lived experience with drugs and alcohol. On our team we have:
- Registered alcohol and other drug practitioners (like me, Phil)
- Social workers
- Science/research experts
We also talk regularly with experts in the field and people who use drugs to make sure our info is relevant and up to date. We want to hear a range of experiences and insights from a diverse group of people. You can share your knowledge and thoughts here.
We hope that as time goes on, The Level becomes a community for sharing knowledge, experiences and tips to be safer.
Who is The Level for?
The first answer I’ll give is pretty vague: Anyone affected by drugs and alcohol. This includes people who use drugs, their family and friends, and people working in the drug and alcohol field. But beyond that, we want to reach the people that don’t normally access information on drugs.
With our straight up approach, we believe we can reach all kinds of people and give them a space to share their experiences and expertise.
What are we trying to do?
We believe that drugs should be treated as a health issue, not a criminal one, and this guides everything we do. We are aiming to open up the conversation for people who use drugs at all different levels.
We're not here to tell you that "drugs will ruin your life" or that using drugs makes you a bad person. Many different people from many different walks of life use drugs. Some will use a lot regularly while others will have a little bit every now and then.
Whether you are trying drugs for the first time, or use drugs every day, The Level is a place you can find accurate information and tips on how to be safer.
Focusing on how you can be safer instead of how you can stop using drugs is called the harm reduction approach. Take a look at the video below about why harm reduction is more effective than throwing people who use drugs in jail:
How can you help?
The best way you can help is to participate! Share the website with people who would find it useful, follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates and keep checking back on the site to see the new tips, stories and research that we are posting every week.
We would also love to hear from you. If you have harm reduction tips you want us to share, or have general feedback on the website, hit us up through our Contact Us page. Moving forward, we are keen to grow the community and provide a platform for you to share your knowledge and expertise, so stay tuned for that.
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.