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Greens hail new resource for school drug education

Green Party hails new resource for school drug education

The launch of the school-based drug education scheme marks a significant turning point in efforts to reduce the harm caused by drug abuse, Green Party MP Nandor Tanczos said today.

Nandor, the Green Party’s Drug Policy spokesperson, said that today’s launch represents the culmination of a process he started with a Green Party budget initiative to former Youth Affairs Minister, the hon. Laila Harre.

“This is fantastic development for schools, young New Zealanders and their parents,” said Nandor. “Young people are most at risk of being harmed by drug abuse and developing problems, so it’s a major step forward to have clear guidelines for evidence-based education aimed at young people.

“The information provides a very important contribution for schools and parents, who often have to make decisions about the provision of drug education with little information about what is effective.

“In particular it is important that the information is evidence based, that it’s based on what works - not a blind commitment to ideology.

“Proponents of an abstinence-based approach should take note that the evidence in this report clearly shows that it is not effective in protecting young people and, in many cases, actually increases drug use. It’s important that young people are armed with information that they can trust, not ideology that they don’t respect.

“Abstinence-based sex education never worked - and actually created more harm than good - so its hard to see how drug education should be any different,” he said.

Nandor congratulated the Government and Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton for completing the project that originated with negotiations with Ms Harre during the 1999-2002 term of government.

“The Green Party saw the need for research into effective drug education. Our negotiations provided the money for independent experts to undertake this important task and today we congratulate them on the work they have completed.

“We are especially pleased to see the integrated community approach outlined in the education strategy that we strongly endorsed in submissions to the strategy as communities as a whole are affected. An engaged and empowered community is the most effective mechanism for reducing demand for drugs in the community.

“The fact that independent organisations like the New Zealand Drug Foundation, who are noted for their realistic and objective approach to these issues, have hailed the initiative shows that the project is already off to a positive beginning,” said Nandor.

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