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Psychoactive Substance Education Campaign Urgently Needed

Media Release

14 August 2013

Psychoactive Substance Education Campaign Urgently Needed

Civic leaders in Manurewa are calling for the Ministry of Health to work with the Ministry of Education to urgently put in place an education campaign around the effects of so called 'legal highs'. 

At a public meeting yesterday organised by the Manurewa Local Board, it was highlighted that children as young as 9 have been taking 'legal highs' and have been badly harmed by them. 

Manurewa Local Board Chair Angela Dalton says this is deeply concerning and it must be a top priority now that the new legislation is in effect. 

"Our position is very clear, we believe these substances should be banned, however we also know that further legislative change is unrealistic in the short term. That is why we are doing all that we can to tackle these legal highs to protect our community." Says Ms Dalton.

"Young children are getting hold of these substances and must urgently be informed about the harms associated with them. Rapid heart rates, vomiting, aggression, chest pain, heart palpitations, paranoia and tremors are just some of the harmful symptoms. 

Today's meeting was about ensuring that the community is informed about the implications of the new Psychoactive Substances Act and to inform the community about the work the Manurewa Local Board is doing to ban the sale of these substances within a 1km radius of all schools, churches, ECE's and community facilities. 

Manurewa Local Board Member Simeon Brown says there is strong support for this policy.

"Manurewa residents are tired of being ignored and want the community to be able to dictate where these harmful drugs can or cannot be sold." Says Mr Brown. 

"We have fought hard for the community to be able to have the right to object to where liquor stores can be placed. Now we are having to do the same thing again for 'legal high' shops. 

"We are encouraged that Auckland Council is working with the Ministry of Health to ensure that policy is in place as soon as possible so our communities have these rights. Now is the time for the Ministry of Health to work with the Ministry of education to ensure that appropriate education is in place so that young people are aware of the risks of these substances and can choose not to take them. This is about doing all we can to ensure we protect our communities and our young people from these substances. 

"I've spoken to local boards across Auckland from Orewa in the north to Papakura in the south and they are all of the same opinion. These substances are unwanted in our community and the community must be empowered to dictate where these substances can and cannot be sold." Says Mr Brown

ENDS 

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