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Drug culture: No room for mixed message

23 July 2002

Drug culture: No room for mixed message

At the opening of a new Customs facility in Mangere, Jim Anderton reinforced The Progressive Coalition’s anti-drug stance.

“I’m appalled by the mixed messages on drugs by one of the parties that claims to want to be part of the government after Saturday’s election.

“In my view there is no room for mixed messages on the use of drugs. This includes marijuana use by young New Zealanders. Taken together with a culture of alcohol use, the difficult period of adolescence, and also mixed with the use of cars, which are in themselves lethal weapons, the result is a lethal cocktail which all too often has disastrous consequences.

“There is no room for equivocation on drug use, whether it be marijuana, so-called party drugs, or alcohol. Whatever is dangerous must be opposed by all responsible community representatives.

“Simply stating that we are anti-drugs is one of the most important things The Progressive Coalition can do.

“Drugs are fashionable. The Greens know this and play on the “coolness factor’ of having a prominent MP who at best gives a relaxed impression of the use of marijuana.

“As a result, kids think that smoking marijuana makes you a hero.

“We don’t care if we’re out of step with what’s happening at dance parties. We’re not afraid to tell it like it is.

“Drugs are closely linked with our high youth suicide rate as well as being a prime motivator for crime.”

Quoting from recent reports, Jim Anderton pointed out the high cost of drug use among New Zealand youth.

- Figures issued by the Health Ministry show admissions for drug psychosis rose more than 140 per cent during the last decade, from 131 in 1990 to 318 in 1998/99

- Patients aged between 15 and 24 account for more than 35 per cent of admissions

- Children as young as 10 are becoming addicted to cannabis

- Earlier this year, three 12-year-old boys arrived at a North Island primary school stoned. Only a few weeks ago, three 12-year-old girls were caught with cannabis at the same school. One was trying to sell it.

“This is a tragedy. It is indicative of the tacit approval of drugs being shown by at least one political party. Kids see that marijuana is “no big deal,’ so why shouldn’t they try harder drugs like ecstasy, speed and fantasy as well?

“The main priority is to change the attitudes that make drug use acceptable.

“The Progressive Coalition is committed to implementing an across-the-board anti-drugs strategy as part of the next government.”


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