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Education Over Addiction

PITA PARAONE MP

Media Release


21 November 2006


Education Over Addiction

New Zealand First is alarmed at the high rate of substance abuse among Maori, and urges the Government to provide effective addiction services for this high need group.

“Results of a recent study showing that Maori are at least twice as likely as non-Maori to develop drug addictions and to suffer higher rates of mental illness are clear signs that help is needed,” said Maori Affairs spokesperson Pita Paraone.

“Although the researchers involved in the study admitted not having a full understanding of the reasons for this disparity, to me it makes sense that the over-representation of Maori at or near the bottom of most social indicators is at the root of the problem.

“New Zealand First is firmly of the belief that education is the major strand in solutions to so many individual and social problems, and it is pleasing to see that this factor is noted by the presenter of the report, Professor Doug Sellman.

“Make no mistake, the languishing of Maori at the bottom of the heap is a problem for all of us. We cannot hold our heads up as a progressive democratic society in the face of these statistics. Maori will form the bulk of the working age population within the next 50 years, and it’s in everybody’s interests to address these issues now.

“I urge the Government to make a concerted effort to target those in need of help by providing effective and accessible addiction and mental health services which focus on education as a way out of despair,” said Mr Paraone.


ENDS

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