Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Urgent response to drug deaths: accurate information is vital

Media release: 25 July 2017

Urgent response to drug deaths: accurate information is vital

The spike in hospital admissions and reported deaths in Auckland as a result of people taking unknown substances is not being helped by an information vacuum.

“It would much better for the NZ Police to share test results of the analysis of the synthetic cannabis that they've seized, so that we can actually, truly be honest to people about what's out there at the moment,” says Ross Bell, Executive Director.

“We know it will take time to establish the cause of those death attributed to ‘synthetic cannabis’, but samples of the drugs can be tested by ESR right now.

“Speculation about substances being adulterated with poisons like fly spray is irresponsible and only leads to confusion and mistrust.

“It is a tragedy to hear someone else has died overnight after taking these unknown substances. At a time like this, it’s not enough to simply say ‘don’t take these drugs “.

There are many harmful chemical compounds on the blackmarket that are known to lead to adverse reactions. More than 600 new psychoactive substances have been identified internationally in the last decade, and many are highly toxic and dangerous. Highly potent synthetic cannabinoids are imported and processed locally. Even a tiny variation in dose can cause disaster. This type of situation was predicted.

“It is tragic situation to see so many people coming to harm. We extend our sympathy to all those who have lost a family member or friend as a result of taking unknown substances,” says Ross Bell.

“I’d like to think we can respond with compassion and understanding, rather than the moralising we’ve been seeing. The best way to do this is to provide frank, accurate advice, not scare tactics.”

The need for good information has been recognised by many other countries due to the big changes in drug markets that have taken place in the last decade. Early Warning Systems monitor what is happening with new drugs, and then issue advice when dangerous drugs are found. A European-wide system has been running since 2005. Our National Drug Policy, released in August 2015, includes an action to develop such a system, something that is due to be completed this year.

“It is an urgent priority for the Ministry of Health to set up a full early warning system. However, in the meantime an interim process needs to be put place. This should involve central coordination and clear roles for both DHBs, Police and other agencies.

“Such a system would cover protocols for distribution of evidence-based, public health messages that do not stigmatise people in need of support.

“Regrettably, the situation with dangerous substances circulating like we’re seeing at the moment is likely to be repeated. We shouldn’t be caught out again. “


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Hope For Nature: A New Deal For The Commons

Joseph Cederwall on The Dig: The disruption and destruction of the interconnected biodiversity of Earth is the most serious challenge humanity has ever faced. This is an ecosystem emergency on an extinction scale. It is also a serious threat to the inherent rights of the diversity of non-human life, ecosystems and human Cultures on Earth to exist and thrive. The current global paradigm is devastating life everywhere by disrupting vital “ecosystem services” like the food, water, and climate regulation systems that both humanity and biodiversity depend on in an interconnected balance. It is increasingly clear that the primary driver of this crisis is the limiting and infectious worldview around land and resource use so central to the global capitalist system. To fully understand the biodiversity crisis and explore what comes next, it is necessary to address this mind-virus at the heart of our modern civilisation – the dominion worldview. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Farming Sector’s Persecution Complex

The narrative that our farmers are ‘doing it tough’ plays into a number of wellworn stereotypes ... More>>


corrections, prisonCorrections: Independent Review Of Prisoner Mail Management

The independent review into the prisoner mail system has today been released, with Corrections accepting all 13 recommendations and making a number of changes to strengthen the management of prisoner mail. More>>


IPCA: Unlawful Detention Of Teenager; Influence Of Investigation

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that former Inspector Hurimoana Dennis unlawfully detained an Auckland teenager in 2015, and improperly influenced the outcome of a criminal investigation into his own son in 2014. More>>


SOP For Gun Bill: New Measures For Modified Pistols

The new controls will • Prohibit short-barrelled semi-automatic rifles which currently are defined as pistols because they are shorter than 762 millimetres. • Introduce tighter controls over pistol carbine conversion kits… • Prohibit firearms which contain a part known as a centrefire lower receiver… More>>

'Culturally Arranged Visitors Visa': Fix For Marriage Visa Issue

Earlier this year Immigration New Zealand issued guidance to front line Immigration staff that made it significantly harder for people to get visas to visit their partner. That guidance no longer applies with today’s announcement. More>>


Conflict Of Interest For Key Member: Budget Data Breach Investigation Shut Down

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes has today terminated the investigation into how Budget-sensitive material was accessed at the Treasury and appointed a new inquirer. More>>

RNZ Report: Mysterious Foundation Loaning NZ First Money

A mysterious foundation that loans money to New Zealand First is under scrutiny, with a university law professor saying although it's lawful, it fails to provide the transparency voters need in a democracy. More>>

Justice: Criminal Cases Review Commission Established

“We’ve seen how our justice system can very occasionally get things spectacularly wrong, even with rights of appeals, and there needs to be a chance for the innocent on the right grounds to seek a final review of their case...” More>>





InfoPages News Channels