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Iwi’s War on Methamphetamine Gaining Momentum

17 May 2004

Iwi’s War on Methamphetamine Gaining Momentum

Bay of Plenty’s Ngaiterangi Iwi’s war on methamphetamine is gaining momentum. Over the last three months staff have been recruited, equipment resourced and hui and workshops undertaken.

With funding to become part of the CAYAD (Community Action on Youth and Drugs) project, a government initiative, Ngaiterangi are addressing methamphetamine abuse amongst their iwi by pressuring drug producers and distributors to shut down their operations.

“What we’ve done is recognise the value and need to address the methamphetamine issue specifically amongst our own people at the very base level,” says Paul Stanley, project manager.

“It’s not enough to be involved with users, we need to dig deeper and deal with the producers and distributors. We need to support our people and the community to stand strong as they deal with those around them involved in this activity.”

Knowing the importance of the strong relationships already existing within maoridom, the Ngaiterangi group are supporting kaumatua and elders to fight the drug issue. This includes researching the impact of methamphetamine and violence on kaumatua who are being threatened, and supporting elders with counselling through the tribes social services section.

Stanley says the project is also proving successful on a wider community level because it is based on community action rather than just education. By taking a very hands-on approach his group equips and supports those at the coalface who are dealing with individuals involved with methamphetamine.

“We’ve recently undertaken workshops for social workers which proved really successful,” Stanley says. “We haven’t just been telling them about the drug but actually equipping them to identify people involved in the industry, how to deal with them and how to manage their own personal risk in those situations.”

>From June 17-19 Ngaiterangi will be hosting CAYAD’s national workshops. These workshops will bring together all CAYAD providers throughout New Zealand and will focus on a number of training needs including service planning and working with the media.

Minister Jim Anderton, Chair of the Ministerial Committee on Drug Policy, will join the group for the last session on day one.

ENDS

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