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Working with teachers to combat drugs in schools

29 September 2002 Media Statement

Government wants to work with teachers to combat drugs in schools

Jim Anderton says the Government’s new drug strategy will address drugs in schools.

Comments published from the PPTA conference, this week on students taking the cannabis 'harvesting season' off school and noting the problems with stoned students, have again focused attention on the issue.

"Our children cannot fulfil their potential while cannabis and other illegal drugs are easily available to school children - and as always, the problems are made significantly worse by alcohol abuse," said Jim Anderton.

“I will be working with my colleague Lianne Dalziel, Associate Minister of Education, to contact secondary and primary principals’ organisations and teacher unions to arrange meetings to discuss these issues.

“Principals and teachers are in the front line to teach, not deal with drug and alcohol problems, and it is clear that both teachers and students need the support of a co-ordinated response from Government.

“I want to follow up various work done by agencies to track and work with problem children and youth.

“I have had many reports that there is a close association between drug-use, drug-dealing, school truancy, running away from home, as well as other forms of crime (such as burglaries). If key agencies work together, as a ‘whole-of-government’ we are able to tackle a number of inter-related problems at one time.

“A case management approach has worked well in Christchurch and I would like to see it extended around New Zealand. These approaches use Police records, CYFS data and could benefit from other initiatives such as the proposed National Student Database recently announced by Education Minister Trevor Mallard,” said Jim Anderton.

A strategy to better protect young people from drugs was a key part of Progressive Coalition election policy. The Coalition Agreement set out that Jim Anderton would lead the Government's strategy on protecting young people from drugs. As Associate Minister of Health, Jim Anderton chairs the Ministerial Committee overseeing the National Drug Policy, and is working with Ministers including Phil Goff, George Hawkins, Lianne Dalziel, John Tamihere, and Damien O'Connor to produce a draft action plan on aspects of the National Drug Policy. The draft plan is expected to be ready in October.

ENDS

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