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Whanau Still Can’t Cope with Legal Dope

Whanau Still Can’t Cope with Legal Dope: The Lows of Highs

Press Release: Antony Thompson

Te Rūnanga O Ngāti Whātua Māori Public Health Unit

West Aucklanders will get their say in psychoactive drugs this Friday when Auckland Council will hear submissions on the Local Approved Products Policy (LAPP).

“If psychoactive drugs are ever deemed safe by the government, the LAPP will make the rules regarding where they can be sold, the proximity and density of stores across Auckland so it’s important to make a stand,” says Māori Public Health advocate, Antony Thompson.

“Our whānau are putting chemicals in their bodies with no idea what they are or what they do. We have no idea what long-term effects these drugs have and the dealers don’t care,” he says.

Mr Thompson is a Practice Leader for Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua Māori Public Health service, and lead co-ordinator of Māori Public Health collective Whānau Whānui.

“One year after a very public campaign over these drugs and we need to find out more about these poisons but there is still very little information and very little being done about it. This Friday we will have an opportunity to voice the feedback the community has given us and comment on the Auckland Council LAPP policy,” he says.

In 2014 Mr Thompson says his organisation and key stakeholders collected survey responses from the public at Polyfest and the Waitakere rally. They collected over 200 responses alone at one event and the community over whelming said they did not want psychoactive substances sold in their communities. The community supported bans in suburbs and townships especially around schools and areas of significance such as medical centres, addiction services and areas of high deprivation.

“At Polyfest and the West Auckland rally we wanted to highlight this issues to educate rangatahi so they can make informed decisions. At the same time we wanted to know what the community thought about the psychoactive drugs being sold in stores all over the country so we could advocate for better local and national government regulations around this kaupapa.” he says.

This year Auckland Council decides on local regulations for psychoactive substances. There have been two oral submission hearings held by Auckland Council in the CBD and South Auckland already with a final hearing set on the 13th March in the CBD again. It is hoped the Henderson hearing this Friday will strengthen the LAPP in its current state.

ends

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