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New Zealanders Want More Action Against “P”

New Zealanders Want More Action Against “P”

New research into the impacts and awareness of methamphetamine or “P” use in New Zealand shows that Kiwis want more steps taken to combat the insidious and highly damaging nature of the drug.

The research also highlighted some surprising demographics on the spread of P with around one in seven (15%) New Zealanders knowing someone that regularly uses P and almost one in 10 New Zealanders (9%) having been offered the drug. The surprise was that around 35% of New Zealanders who earn more than $50,000 have been offered the drug.

To combat the spread of P, New Zealanders want measures that include more emphasis on drug education, tougher sentences for P related crimes and more resources for police to fight an illegal drug that New Zealanders rank only second to marijuana as readily accessible to all levels of society.

New Zealanders favour more and tougher action against the spread of P including greater police powers (12.5%), better education in schools and in general (21.6%) and tougher sentences for dealers and users (42.8%).

“New Zealanders believe there is so much more that can be done in the fight against P,” says Burton Shipley, Chairman of the Stellar Trust, a leading anti-P organisation that commissioned the survey and announced the results at its launch into Wellington last night (September 7).

“When you consider that Government launched a set of what we believed were strong initiatives just last October we were very surprised at the depth of feeling around the issue of P use and availability.

“The demand for more educational awareness runs counter to current thinking in many areas of our health bureaucracy but it is something the Trust firmly believes in implementing. We have our own education programme running alongside the health curriculum in many high schools and the feedback from pupils on that programme is quite stunning. We are trying to “unsell” the idea of experimenting with P and the high impact of our presentations certainly helps get that message across.”

The Stellar Trust’s research, launched at a function hosted by TelstraClear CEO Dr Allan Freeth, key Government Ministers and many leading business identities, shows just how widespread P use is in New Zealand. Dr Freeth said it was that widespread use that had encouraged TelstraClear to assist with the launch as P was becoming an issue in many sectors of the work place.

“The numbers show that the more likely users of P are in the higher income, professional and sales demographics –particularly in Auckland and Wellington – and mainly male,” said Mr Shipley, “There is also a serious problem evident in lower income Maori households in the regions.

“Our courts are becoming clogged with P related cases, there is a serious flow-on effect into welfare statistics, and P clearly has an ongoing effect in our productive and professional sectors. We agree with the research that says we need to be doing more.”

Stellar Trust Ambassador, Paul Holmes outlined an action plan for the Trust and its supporters that includes building on the current schools education programme, launching further community-based schemes like the Trust’s successful Hawke’s Bay programme, more co-ordination between Government and other agencies working in the sector, more focus on awareness and “un-selling” campaigns and testing for “P” in the work-place.

“The initiatives announced by Government in October were a great start,” said Stellar Trust Patron, Judge Peter Boshier. “But the Trust believes firmly in more education to show our young people that it is just not cool to try P and that it is incredibly addictive and damaging.

“That means the thinking in many areas of Government on the effectiveness of these campaigns will need to change. The evidence shows they do work.”

THE UMR on-line survey was taken from a sample of 1,000 New Zealanders and has a 3.5% margin of error. The research is available on the Stellar Trust’s website www.stellartrust.co.nz


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