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Drug ed handbook shows Green influence waning

Turner: Drug education handbook shows Green influence waning

The Greens’ influence over drug policy is being marginalised and young New Zealanders are the better for it, United Future social services spokeswoman Judy Turner said today.

“The fact that all references to ‘harm minimisation’ have been dumped from the final version of a drug education handbook for secondary students is a huge victory for common sense - and a huge blow for the Greens,” Mrs Turner said.

The term featured in early drafts of the book, Strengthening Drug Education in School Communities, but was missing from the final version sent to schools yesterday, although the book is still too equivocal on drug use, she said.

“The draft document actually stated that harm minimisation, and not drug avoidance, is the primary goal of drug education. Incredibly, it even sought to avoid promoting abstinence in case it ‘stigmatises experimentation with drugs as deviant behaviour’.

“Thankfully the Green drug apologists have been put at least partly in their place - which should be a million miles away from any position of influence on the nation’s young.

“There is at least some acknowledgement that we should be trying to stop drug use,” Mrs Turner said.

She said the trend away from the Greens’ pro-drug policies was all the more pointed as the book began life as a Green initiative in the previous parliament,

“Clearly, those who actually have to deal with youth with drug problems have had some input.”

The Government may also have softened the Green propaganda for political reasons, after United Future questioned Justice Minister Phil Goff in Parliament earlier this month as to why the draft handbook took such a liberal approach, when its message was in direct conflict with the law that he is charged to uphold, Mrs Turner said.

However, Turner also queried how the schools are expected to make the handbook work in practice when it still takes an equivocal approach to drug use.

“Nowhere does it state that doing drugs is a bad idea, for all that we know about the damage that it causes to the mental and physical well-being of young people, not to mention the fact that it is against the law.”

“The time for mixed messages has passed. Young people must be made aware that doing drugs has consequences, instead of being subjected to ‘pink think’ affirmations.”

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