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

 

NZ ready for healthy drug law

23/05/2013

NZ ready for healthy drug law

The overwhelming result in favour of decriminalisation on last night’s The Vote, shows New Zealand is ready to ditch our outdated drug laws and move to health-focused solutions, the New Zealand Drug Foundation said today.

“New Zealand’s outdated drug law is causing harm, particularly for young people, which is why we advocate for healthy drug law,” New Zealand Drug Foundation Executive Director Ross Bell said.

“Seventy-eight percent of people who voted on The Vote last night supported decriminalisation, this shows an appetite for change and a wider discussion around these complex issues.

“Decriminalisation does not mean a free-for-all and it does not mean that we’re soft on drugs, it means that we’re facing up to the problem and tackling it head on.

Mr Bell said that New Zealand’s serious drug problem was a result of our current approach.

“There is no other health problem that we expect our justice system to fix. Instead of criminalisation for possession or use of drugs, we need better education and treatment options available,” Mr Bell said.

“Sadly, New Zealanders are the biggest users of cannabis in the world. This is not something we should be proud of.

“We are giving our young people convictions and sending them to jail instead of giving them help. This is not just costing our young people, it’s costing the country.

“New Zealand spends $100 million a year on police enforcement, and over 300,000 police hours every year on enforcing these laws. In the past five years, almost $13 million has been spent to just lock people up for possession of cannabis.”

Mr Bell said consensus needed to be built around a new approach to drug law.

“The current system is simply not working to reduce the harm caused by drugs in our communities. In fact it makes it worse by criminalising and stigmatising the people who need the most help.

“A health focus has been proven to work overseas. Thirty countries have decriminalised, 17 US states have decriminalised, and people might not realise this but Australia, just across the Tasman, have been doing this for 25 years.

“New Zealanders are ready for a 21st century drug law that supports, not punishes,” Mr Bell said.

Mr Bell said the debate around cannabis, decriminalisation and its health effects, needed to continue.

“To inform the debate around cannabis, the Drug Foundation is holding an International Drug Policy Symposium on Cannabis and Health in November this year,” Mr Bell said.

“By bringing together some of the best minds about cannabis and health from around the world, we hope to build knowledge and consensus on these complex issues.

A full transcript of The Vote can be read here http://www.3news.co.nz/Transcript-Should-soft-drugs-be-decriminalised/tabid/1789/articleID/298787/Default.aspx

Find out more about the Cannabis and Health Symposium here http://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/cannabis-and-health

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