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Campaign Against Illicit Drugs gains Momentum

Campaign Against Illicit Drugs gains Momentum

National co-ordinator for Community Action on Youth and Drugs (CAYAD), Evelyn Bennett, describes the pilot workshop on 'P' and other illicit drugs held in Tauranga this week as a huge step forward for the community health projects she co-ordinates.

"In the course of the two-day workshop, a united front was demonstrated by CAYAD workers from all over New Zealand on the ongoing youth and drugs issue," says Bennett.

These sentiments are endorsed by Tauranga's project manager for CAYAD, Paul Stanley, who hosted the workshop.

"The pleasing thing is, although we are from different backgrounds and from regions with different problems, we are all on the same page when it comes to combating the drugs evil that is in our communities," says Stanley.

Considerable weight for CAYAD's campaign was lent by the appearance of Minister Jim Anderton, chairman of the ministerial committee on alcohol and drugs, at a closed workshop session and, later, at a public forum in Tauranga.

Speaking from the heart, Anderton told CAYAD delegates that in the last 30 years New Zealand had sewn a whirlwind which it is reaping now.

"As a result of the legacy (of drug and alcohol abuse) we've inherited, the lives of our young people are being treated with contemptuous disdain," said the Minister.

"I've never liked drugs. As a politician, I've always wanted to create a New Zealand where all our young people can reach their full potential. We need to support them to be all they can be.

"In 30 years time, I want communities to be safe and secure, not like the dysfunctional communities, families and individuals we see now."

He congratulated CAYAD on the work it's doing and for organising the public forum.

"If only one person gets value out of it, it will have been a success."

Anderton said while it may be fashionable to talk about 'P' and other hard drugs, it should be noted that alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana are causing widespread problems.

"Marijuana is stopping the growth of forestry in New Zealand. There are forestry companies who can't find enough skilled staff because young people are getting stoned all day. Tough love is needed. It's too dangerous to have drugs in forestry."

Anderton promised he'd do what he could at Government level to ensure CAYAD receives the resources it needs to continue its good work.

"I recognise that combating drug abuse is not a quick fix. It's a long-term process. We are clawing back from 30 years of neglect."

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