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Global Day of Action to Take Place in New Zealand

Global Day of Action to Take Place in New Zealand

The STAR Trust set to participate in global awareness campaign of the harms caused by drug policies

On Thursday 26th June 2014, New Zealand will be the first country in the world to make its voice heard as part of the global ‘Support. Don’t Punish’ campaign.

With more than 50 cities around the world participating, Auckland will be host to the launch of this “Global Day of Action” to raise awareness of the harms caused by currently punitive drug policies, whichcoincides with the UN-sponsored International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The STAR Trust is proud to be part of this worldwide reform movement and will be addressing this in further detail at a breakfast function in Auckland’s Britomart.

The ‘Support. Don’t Punish’ campaign calls on governments to put an end to the expensive and counter-productive war on drugs. This war has failed to reduce drug use or supply, has cost in excess of $100 billion to enforce, and has driven HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis epidemics around the world. It has also fuelled human rights violations and led to the mass incarceration of the vulnerable and the poor.

The list of high-profile figures calling for the end of this war on drugs is growing fast: President José Mujica of Uruguay, former Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss, Brad Pitt, Sir Richard Branson, Kofi Annan and Russell Brand to name a few.

The “Global Day of Action” is a public show of force for drug policy reform: last year, on 26th June 2013, events were held in 41 cities around the world – including street performances, street art, protests, music events and flash mobs. Organisers expect even more cities to participate in events this year.

“The Support. Don’t Punish campaign shines a light on the large-scale damage that has been caused by the war on drugs for half a century”, said Ann Fordham, Executive Director of the International Drug Policy Consortium. “We know that this war is unwinnable and unjustifiably expensive. Instead of punishing people who use drugs we should be offering them services that address any health and social problems that they may have, and respect their human rights. The tide is turning and governments need to fix drug policies and repair the damage”.

General Manager of The STAR Trust, Grant Hall said that New Zealand was on the world radar for drug policy reform due to the Psychoactive Substances Act which aims to strictly regulate the ‘legal highs’ industry.

"Countries around the world are looking for policy solutions to deal with the realities of contemporary drug use in the internet age,” said Hall. “New Zealand has pioneered a model based on regulation which treats the consumption of low risk psychoactive products as a health and welfare issue not a criminal justice issue.”

June 26th is the United Nations’ “International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking”. This day is used by many governments to celebrate the war on drugs – and has even been used to hold public executions and beatings of drug offenders. The “Global Day of Action” seeks to reclaim this day and promote a more effective and humane approach to drugs that is based on public health and human rights.

END

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