News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Drug policy experts warn things must change

Drug policy experts warn things must change

26 August 2011

Experts from around New Zealand, and from overseas, will gather in Wellington on Tuesday 30 August for a Drug Policy Symposium organised by NZ Drug Foundation and NZ Society on Alcohol and Drug Dependence.

The purpose of the Symposium is to focus the attention of policy makers and funders on ways to develop a high quality addiction treatment system that gets more people into treatment and retains those who are already in it. Dignitaries who will speak include Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne, and one-time Deputy Drug Czar to the Obama Administration Professor Tom McLellan.

Drug Foundation Executive Director Ross Bell says New Zealand’s governments have consistently underinvested in addiction treatment services despite alcohol and other drug abuse being the sixth highest contributor to our burden of disease.

“It’s time for a massive re-think on the way we deal with addiction and drug abuse, especially in terms of treatment. We’re struggling along with legislation and social attitudes that were already outmoded last century and, until that changes, the cost to us as communities and individuals will remain unacceptably high.”

The government has recently provided extra funding to addiction treatment through initiatives such as the Methamphetamine Action Plan and the Drivers of Crime strategy, but Mr Bell says significant opportunities to reduce harm through treatment are still being missed.

“Fundamental to our failure is that we have a flawed understanding of how addiction works and how best to treat it. As a result we’re reaching only a fraction of the people we should, and many of the resources we are throwing at controlling New Zealand’s drug problem have been misdirected and wasted.

“By gathering some of the best and most knowledgeable minds from around the country and overseas to speak, we hope we can influence government to invest in a treatment system that more effectively improves the lives of those with drug and alcohol problems, and the lives of those they affect.”

Mr Bell says a number of opportunities for change are coming up this year including a new mental health service plan, a health workforce review and a refreshing of the mental health and addictions ‘Blueprint’. He also says the government’s announced extra $10 million for treatment is welcome news, but that the problem is not just one of money.

“New Zealand is poised on the brink of change. The question is, will we have the courage to honestly reappraise the way we've been approaching addiction treatment, or will we gaze at our navels for another five years while the rest of the world moves on?

“Let’s hear what the experts advise.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'


The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>


Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>


Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>


Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland