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Anderton Answers Anti-drug Crusader's Call

27th January 2006

Anderton Answers Anti-drug Crusader's Call

"I want to assure all those in the community who fear the effects of dangerous drugs like “P” and the newer ones like party pills that I am, as the Minister responsible for drug policy committed to fighting all drugs that effect the health of our young people", Jim Anderton emphasised today.

"To Anti-P campaigners who call for tougher penalties for supplying “P” I say –those who manufacture or supply methamphetamine in this country already face the possibility of life imprisonment –how much tougher can we get?"

"This government knows of the violence associated with 'P'. We know of the destruction it has caused families and communities and we have responded with tougher laws, wider customs and police powers, and more community initiatives", said Jim Anderton,

"I have gone up and down the country chairing public forums on P, Alcohol and Other Drugs, and have sent out an anti-drug leaflet with the drug helpline number and informational website addresses nationally, as well as ensuring communities with the worst drug problems have Community Action Youth And Drugs (CAYADs) programmes set up in their areas."

"If anyone wants information on drugs just write to me at Parliament."

"Party pills were first brought into the country as dietary supplements. They were assessed in 2004 by the Expert Advisory Committee on the evidence we had at that time which wasn’t much. They recommended a precautionary approach restricting the sale of these pills to R18 and the need for more research. I accepted these recommendations and ensured they were put in place", Jim Anderton said.

"Once the new evidence, provided by the research projects commissioned last year, is in on party pills and we will have it this year, then they will be reassessed by the experts and I will be advised by them."

I prefer to base my policy decisions on expert advice, not on the gut reaction of either myself or well-meaning anti-drug crusaders' where drug policy is concerned."

"If the experts advise restricting them further, then I will", said Jim Anderton.

"If the experts advise banning them, then I will not hesitate."

"Is there a silver bullet for drugs? The answer is No! I wish there were, but what I do know is that the measures this government has put in place and the new legislation currently before the House aimed at the pockets of organised crime in our society will make a big difference to the drug trade in this country when their impact is fully realised."

ENDS

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