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Youth Drug Court Pilot Welcomed

Green Youth Affairs Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos today welcomed the launch of a pilot youth drug court in Christchurch, saying it was a step in the right direction.

"Drug dependence is an illness and I welcome any move to give people with drug-related problems the help they need instead of punishing them further through the criminal justice system.

"This approach will put young people in touch with agencies that can help with drug problems. The Greens would like to see alcohol and other drug help services readily available to all New Zealanders regardless of age," said Nandor.

"The important thing is that this court should be for people with real problems. If alcohol or other drugs are the cause of offending, or if young people are dependent on drugs, then this scheme should kick in.

"But just because somebody is found with a joint in their pocket doesn't mean they have a problem. Compulsory treatment for an occasional user is a waste of time."

Nandor said alcohol and other drug help services were chronically underfunded and quality drug education for young people was almost non-existent.

"If we are serious about reducing the impact of drugs on New Zealanders we would properly educate our young people so that they can make educated choices and we would adequately fund the services for those people who need help.

"We would also stop arresting people for having a joint.

"The Greens welcome this pilot. It is a positive move in the right direction but if the Government is serious about reducing the harm caused by drugs cannabis law reform would be higher on the agenda.

"The law is the most harmful thing about cannabis for most people."

Ends

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