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Drugs in prisons expert to address key NZ forum

20 June, 2005

Media Advisory

Drugs in prisons expert to address key NZ forum

The New Zealand Drug Foundation announced today that a leading prison health specialist, Professor Michael Levy, will be visiting New Zealand as a keynote speaker at a forum hosted by the Drug Foundation.

The one-day forum at Te Papa – Reducing crime through alcohol and other drugs practice in prison settings – provides an opportunity for policy makers, service providers and researchers to share fresh approaches in dealing with drug and alcohol issues in prisons.

There is increasing concern about alcohol and other drugs issues in prisons, ranging from intravenous drug use to smoking cessation. At the same time, fresh approaches are being evaluated here and overseas.

Recent New Zealand initiatives have included the Department of Corrections’ harm minimisation approach to alcohol and other drugs problems in prisons, and treatment programmes in prisons.

Dr Levy has substantial experience in the correctional field in his home of Australia and internationally, including:
• World Health Organisation, 1995-1997, working with the International Red Cross Committee on prison health issues
• Director of Population Health, New South Wales Corrections Health Service, from 1998
• Director, Centre for Health Research in Criminal Justice in 2004
• Reviewed prison health services in Hungary, 2003, for the Council of Europe's Anti-Torture Committee
• Founding member of Australian Council for Prison Health Services
• Course co-ordinator for Custodial Medicine module of Monash University's Diploma of Forensic Medicine
• More than 50 publications in peer-reviewed journals on prisoner health, human rights and public health.

Dr Levy will also be participating at the Public Health Association's 2005 conference, Making the Links for Public Health, held in Wellington from July 6 to July 8.

Members of the media are invited to contact the New Zealand Drug Foundation if they are interested in speaking with Dr Levy on the issue of drugs in prisons and ways to reduce recidivist offending, or would like to find out more about the issues and the symposium that the Drug Foundation is hosting on July 4.

ENDS

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