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Forum on drug abuse held in Aucklan

Forum on drug abuse held at the Church of Scientology in Auckland

Community groups and concerned individuals gathered together at the Church of Scientology’s new headquarters in Grafton, Auckland, on Sunday 30 April, to discuss the issue of drug abuse and its effects on family and the wider community. The event was attended by 28 people with representatives from NZ Maori Council, New Zealand Healing, and Drug Free World as well as people from various ethnic communities around Auckland.

The meeting was hosted by Alli Axford, community coordinator for the Church of Scientology, who talked about the widespread use of drugs in society and how the problem has become so big that no one group was going to solve it, but many groups coming together could make a real difference.

“The purpose of the event was to provide a platform for people in the community to discuss their work in the area of drug education and rehabilitation, and in that way people can share their ideas and create a stronger network to deal with drug abuse in the community,” Ms Axford said.

Titewhai Harawera from the NZ Maori Council, presented her findings based on all her many years of experience working in the community. She talked about how drugs can affect people adversely and the destruction this also causes to families. She expressed a particular concern about how psychiatric drugs can be the most damaging of all and how these are often given to children. “And what is the community doing about it?” she asked. “When you see something you must speak out, only that way will things change.”

Julian McCuskerdixon, who set up the trust New Zealand Healing, spoke about his work with drug addicts every day. He talked about how drug use often leads to mental health intervention and how illicit drugs are replaced with other medication in this system. He works with helping people off drugs and uses natural nutrition as a way to help people and bring about successful results.

Michele Burnside from the Drug Free World presented the drug education resources that are available for distribution. This programme, which is sponsored by the Church of Scientology, provides materials for drug education and distribution throughout the world. Its purpose is to provide good information on the subject of drugs and make these available for use. "A drug addict doesn’t plan to become addicted,” she said. “What young people are being told about drugs by the pushers is lies—they want to sell their drugs, they are not going to say you’ll become addicted and how it destroys lives.”

Over 1 million copies of the Drug-Free booklets have been distributed throughout New Zealand through community groups, Maori Wardens, schools, police and social workers over the past twenty years.

“The results from the networking is always positive and people want to come together and help bring about a change and really reduce drug use in this city and around New Zealand,” said Ms Axford. “The Church will be hosting a drug education day, letting people know simple everyday things they can do to help,” she said.

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