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Government 'P'rocrastinating On Drugs

Government 'P'rocrastinating On Drugs

Friday 26 Sep 2003
Heather Roy
Press Releases -- Health

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today accused Labour of compromising vulnerable New Zealanders' health and safety, in the wake of the UN report ranking New Zealand's Ecstasy and amphetamine abuse rate as one of the world's highest.

"This report simply underlines the urgent need for action - action that this Government refuses to take," Mrs Roy said.

"Methamphetamines or `P' is highly addictive. While giving users a `high', it often leads to psychotic symptoms, and users with established psychiatric illnesses frequently experience a worsening of their symptoms as a result of taking this drug.

"The P epidemic has spread rapidly and, being manufactured in New Zealand, it cannot be controlled by Customs as other imported drugs have. In this situation only a targeted police offensive can stop its use.

"Labour's favoured approach to drug use, however, is `harm minimisation' - meaning it waits until the problem is established before it acts. An example of this is the Government's refusal to implement the prevention initiatives of the Life Education Trust - which was viciously attacked in January by Education Minister Trevor Mallard.

"Harm minimisation programmes and rehabilitation - the Government's favourite options for controlling P havoc - are not working. Too often harm minimisation is an excuse to do nothing, and rehabilitation is often only taken seriously by those awaiting prosecution.

"The P issue is one that spans Government agencies. It is not only a health issue, but also police and welfare. These agencies must work together to combat the increasing health issues and violent crimes directly attributable to methamphetamines.

"I am calling on the Government to stop pretending its hands are tied, to confront this epidemic and outline how it will address this crisis. It seems that ideology is again getting in the way of solutions," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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