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Methamphetamine Action Plan To Make A Difference

Methamphetamine Action Plan To Make A Difference says Health Ministry

The intersectoral action plan announced by the Government yesterday to deal with New Zealand's methamphetamine problem is a positive move for the health of New Zealanders, the Ministry of Health said today.

The Methamphetamine Action Plan outlines greater search and seizure powers for Police and Customs. Other agencies are responsible for improving community education and providing more comprehensive drug monitoring surveillance data to support enforcement.

Public Health programmes Manager Graeme Gillespie welcomed the 'whole of government' approach taken by the Health, Education, Youth Affairs and Justice Ministries, Te Puni Kokiri and Police and Customs.

"The Ministry's role includes tightening the Misuse of Drugs Act, setting up Community Action Programmes, improving public health and education resources, and improving the collection of data on methamphetamine use," said Mr Gillespie.

"It brings together everything we are doing and want to do into one document."

"We've already started addressing the issue through reclassifying methamphetamine as a class-A drug. This will come into force by the end of the month."

Other initiatives underway include improving the quality of data.

"Currently little data is available on methamphetamine hospital admissions. This situation is being rectified through a new process to receive health data directly."

"As well, a Health Ministry intelligence analyst will be placed at the National Drug Intelligence Bureau to provide better linkages between the Ministry and Police. Funding for this has been provided in the 2003/04 Budget."

The Ministry of Health is also responsible for setting up of Community Action Programmes to target communities with methamphetamine problems. These will focus on both community ownership and solutions with support from Public Health and public health providers.

The Community Action Programmes will mobilise local resources to limit the use of methamphetamine. The Ministry has begun setting these up, and a timeline for the programmes is being finalised. Funding for these programmes is also close to being allocated.

"The action plan provides solid effective steps that the Ministry of Health will undertake to address the methamphetamine problem in New Zealand," said Mr Gillespie.

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