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Statement on the proposed changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act

Preventing harm caused by organised crime and drugs is a key priority for Police.

We know that effective prevention requires action to target supply chains, combined with health-focused support to reduce demand, addiction and improve people’s lives.

The move to schedule 5F-ADB and AMB-FUBINACA as Class A will provide Police with additional powers to target the manufacturers and suppliers of synthetic drugs, who are responsible for significant harm in our communities.

The proposals also ask Police to prioritise a health response over a criminal one in applying discretion when dealing with the possession or use of drugs.

Guided by the Policing Act 2008, the Solicitor-General’s prosecution guidelines, and Police’s Prevention First operating model, officers apply discretion on a daily basis in dealing with a range of matters, including the possession and use of drugs.

Applying this discretion increasingly includes the use of alternative resolution options including pre-charge warnings, Te Pae Oranga, and referrals to health and other support services.

Our focus continues to be on targeting the organised criminal networks who supply these harmful drugs to our communities.

However, the possession and use of illicit drugs remains illegal and prosecution remains an option in order to prevent harm and keep people safe.

Police will work closely with partner agencies to develop clear guidance for dealing with those in possession or using drugs, as legislative details are confirmed.

As this guidance is developed, Police will continue using their discretion in a way that is consistent with our Prevention First model to reduce harm, provide support to those who need it, and keep our communities safe.

ENDS

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