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Stop the drug turf-war, Nandor tells Christians

28 June, 2004

Stop the drug turf-war, Nandor tells Christians

Green MP Nandor Tanczos today accused the Christian-based drug education service Drug Arm of putting turf-protection before public safety, following their criticisms of the Angelcare charitable trust.

Angelcare Trust, a volunteer organisation that provides first aid and harm reduction information at dance parties and nightclubs, was criticised by Drug Arm this morning for including former and current drug users among their staff. Angelcare has a strict no-drugs policy for their people on duty.

"Saying that drug users can't provide education to others about how to use drugs safely and responsibly is like saying only an atheist can give spiritual advice," said Nandor, the Green Party's Drug Policy spokesperson. "Can only a celibate teach sex education?

"People who use drugs simply do not trust advice from do-gooders who have only ever experienced abstinence.

"Five years ago, the dance music community was being condemned for offering a testing service to ensure people weren't taking nasty poisons disguised as popular recreational drugs - now they're being criticised for providing education aimed at safety and harm minimisation.

"Would Drug Arm prefer that people died in the dance community and all we had left to do was play Scrabble tournaments on the weekend?" asked Nandor.

"If this is anything to go by, it's a good indication that, if anyone, Drug Arm shouldn't be allowed to give advice."

Nandor said that Angelcare deserved to be supported by the Government, as it was providing an essential service for the dance community by people in the dance community, and - most importantly - respected by the dance community.

"The Government's funds agencies to work in communities with young people and that is good. A real gap is that there is very little information and counselling provided to people who have left school.

"Angelcare provide information and assistance to the people who are far more likely to come into contact with recreational drugs, yet they're given no help from the Government.

"If New Zealand is to commit to a harm-minimisation approach, we should realise the impact that groups like Angelcare can make and support them rather than criticise," said Nandor.

ENDS

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