LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
by Sam Clark (he/him)
Well, well, well - you’ve made it to the drugs issue. Don’t worry, we won’t nark on you. Inside you’ll find some exciting tales of drugs in Aotearoa. And just like sex, (our last theme) sometimes drugs are great, but sometimes - you could take it or leave it.
Unfortunately, it sounds like bath salts are back in Auckland. They’re often bagged up as MDMA, but as we all know, they’re far from it. Granted, they feel similar at first, but users are quickly hit with some very gnarly paranoia and insomnia. We know how scary and dangerous they can be from the ‘summer of salts’ a couple of years ago, when they flooded into Aotearoa after MDMA supply dried up. There’s plenty of horror stories from New Year’s festivals around the country - people getting carried out of the mosh in a stretcher, taken to hospital or worse. The last thing we want is for any of this to happen again. It’s also a reminder of how important it is to get your drugs tested. Kits are cheap, there are free testing services monthly at The Hemp Store, and Know Your Stuff has stalls at many festivals. It’s so much better to find out you’ve got duds from a testing kit than staying up all night, grinding your teeth. With the election looming, we need to vote for parties that want to improve drug policy in Aotearoa. There’s a lot of work to be done in drug education, harm reduction and rehabilitation.
Lately I’ve been listening to Stuff’s podcast, ‘The Commune’ which is about Centrepoint, Albany’s infamous cult from the 1980s. Centrepoint manufactured acid and ecstasy on-site - not only to sell, but to control and influence its members. Sounds like a seriously bad trip to me. The podcast is an impressive piece of investigative journalism, transporting you into the social and political atmosphere of the time. I ended up listening to ten hour-long episodes in three days, totally consumed by the ins and outs of the cult, its members and their leader, a self-proclaimed guru named Bert. I was really enjoying the show until I had a dream that I had joined them, which I took as a sign to dial it back.
Lastly, I’d like to mention the case of the missing Debate stands. In WG, we often find them facing backwards, behind a wall, or even behind rubbish bins. It’s a sly way of censoring the student voice, which is problematic considering it’s our job to hold AUT to account. This is not the first time this has happened. In 2018, AUT removed all Debate stands on their open day, which they claimed was for health and safety reasons. Get real! That particular edition had a story that was critical of the AUT’s mental health services - you connect the dots. That same year, an estimated 2,000 copies of Otago’s student magazine, Critic Te Ārohi were destroyed after the Proctor found the cover (a woman menstruating) offensive. It’s a slippery slope when the university starts to choose what students can and can’t say. If you notice that AUT has messed with one of our stands, please feel free to move it back - this is your magazine and your campus.