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Drug testing creating new problems?

Drug testing creating new problems?


Kay Brereton the media spokesperson for the Beneficiary Advocacy Federation of New Zealand is critical of the announcement by Minister Bennett that drug testing of beneficiaries is a success.

“Mrs Bennett claims the low numbers of people who've had their benefits sanctioned for failing or refusing a pre-employment drug test is evidence of the success of the policy.”

“In fact the success, or otherwise is unable to be measured, as there was no research to show whether drug use was stopping beneficiaries getting employment, and thus no measure of the size, or in fact the existence of the 'problem'.”

“This also means that there is no way to measure the potential consequences of the policy; such as changes in people's behaviour such as changing to use drugs that are not tested for; like “Legal Highs”, or drugs which are cleared from your system faster such as methamphetamine.”

“The Drug Foundation does not yet have usage statistics for “Legal Highs”, thus unfortunately any impact of the drug testing policies on the consumption of “Legal Highs” will not be able to be measured.”

“There are anecdotal reports that people subject to drug testing in the workplace are switching to “Legal Highs”, it is likely that this is an unintended consequence of workplace drug testing.”

“While it is important that people are available for work when on a work tested benefit, it is essential that Work and Income resources are put into strategies which are value for money and evidence based, rather than knee jerk and punitive. Poorly researched policies can have unforeseen impacts on the population.”

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