Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Government action on synthetics drugs crisis applauded

Government action on synthetics drugs crisis applauded

The NZ Drug Foundation has welcomed the Government’s response to synthetic drug deaths. The response strikes a balance between giving law enforcement the tools they need to target criminal networks and changing drug law to make it easier for people to access help when they need it.

“We are so pleased that the Government is willing to confront the consequences of failed punitive approaches to drug harm and instead explore new and compassionate ways to address this public health emergency,” said Ross Bell, Drug Foundation Executive Director.

“The terrible deaths our families and communities have suffered tragically prove our drug laws are not fit-for-purpose: Too much emphasis has been given to law enforcement and prisons, with little support to communities for prevention, harm reduction, treatment and social interventions.

“Of course, it is right to target those people at the high end who traffic and manufacture these dangerous substances. But if we aren’t willing to address the health and wider social issues that drive drug harm, we will continue to repeat past mistakes.

“The government’s announcements today, while long overdue, represent the first concrete step towards treating New Zealand drug problems as a health and social rather than a criminal issue.

“The proposals will remove the barrier of fear that prevents people from seeking help. They should lead to better resourcing of community-based health and social interventions so that people in need can be directed to the right kind of help,” said Ross Bell.

The government has established a fund to support rapid community health and social service responses, which is being made available immediately.

“This will be welcome news for those families and communities who have been affected by synthetic cannabinoids. We have been gathering insights from frontline services and from people who use these substances to find out exactly what help they need. This week we will report to the Ministry of Health on our findings which will guide them to get resources flowing quickly,” said Mr Bell.

The proposed changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act will give Police greater enforcement powers and will mean heavier penalties for criminal groups involved in this market. It will also strengthen Police’s use of discretion and diversion for possession of all illicit drugs.

“This proposal addresses our earlier concerns that a blunt classification to Class A for these substances would impact harshly on vulnerable people. It also gives greater scope to deal with all illicit drug use from a health and harm reduction approach.

“The proposed amendments will formalise the health-based approach that many Police Districts are already following. Police openly say they ‘can’t arrest their way out of this problem’. Improving the ability for Police to refer people to health and social services, rather than arrest them, combined with additional funding for such services is a win-win for everyone.

“One model showing great results is the Northland Police and DHB’s Te Ara Oranga methamphetamine harm reduction programme, where the Police make referrals to health services during methamphetamine investigations. This model should be expanded to other districts.

“In many cases drug treatment isn’t the only answer. Many people who use synthetic cannabinoids are homeless or in insecure housing. Providing homes first, accompanied by wrap-around health and social services would go a long way to addressing the synthetics crisis.”

The Drug Foundation is urging the Government to move quickly on the recommendation from the Mental Health and Addictions Inquiry to replace criminal penalties for drug use with referrals to early intervention, harm reduction and treatment.

“Expanding the use of Police discretion for drug possession is a welcome first step, but we need to confront the fact that our drug law is over forty years old and was designed for different times; Police discretion can also be applied inequitably.

“We need to refresh the 2011 Law Commission drug law review which recommended to the previous government that the Misuse of Drugs Act be scrapped and replaced with a mandatory health referral approach. The government today is taking a welcome first step towards that, but more must be done,” said Ross Bell.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Politics Of Using The Word “Fascist”

“Fascist” is one of those labels with the ability to capsize any debate. Call your opponents “fascists” – or “agitators” or “terrorists” or “scum” and you’ve taken the option of mutual respect and compromise off the table. Interesting then to see the ( paywalled) Washington Post seriously debating with itself yesterday over whether… Hmm, is it now finally time to bring out the f-word in connection with the presidency of Donald J. Trump, and with his enablers in the Republican Party..? More>>

 


RNZ: Covid-19 rules and restrictions on businesses to be lifted under alert level 1


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says there will still be strict controls on the border, but all current rules and restrictions on businesses and services will be "essentially lifted" under alert level 1.
She said the lower alert level would also put an end to restrictions for hospitality businesses, and gatherings - including funerals and tangihanga - of any size could take place..... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Twitter Wars, And The Muller Muddles

Whatever the failings of our own politicians, spare a kind thought for the majority of Americans who did not vote for Donald Trump. Sure, it was depressing this week to watch Todd Muller clinging for dear life to his talking points on Q&A, ... More>>

ALSO:

Green Party: Statement On The Death Of George Floyd

“Today and every day we stand in solidarity with George Floyd’s family, friends and community who feel pain and fear about his untimely death at the hands of Minneapolis police”, said Green Party Co-leader and Māori Development spokesperson Marama ... More>>

ALSO:


Government: Freshwater Package Backed By Comprehensive Economic Analysis

Decisions on the Action for Healthy Waterways package are supported by comprehensive environmental and economic impact analysis by leading New Zealand research institutes, universities, and private sector firms. More>>

ALSO:

National: "Todd Muller Announces Shape Of Next Government"

National Party Leader Todd Muller has announced the line-up of the next Government. “New Zealand is facing perhaps the toughest time that almost anyone alive can remember. “We are borrowing tens of billions of dollars to get us through this crisis. There ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On National’s Day Of Reckoning

Congratulations. You are one of the 55 members of the National caucus being called together tomorrow to choose who will lead you to either (a) catastrophic or (b) honourable defeat on September 19, thereby saving some (but not all) of the jobs currently on the line. Good luck. Your decision process starts NOW... More>>

ALSO:


Budget 2020: Jobs Budget To Get Economy Moving Again

Investments to both save and create jobs in Budget 2020 mean unemployment can be back to pre COVID-19 levels within two years and could see the economy growing again as early as next year. More>>

ALSO:

Government: Queen's Birthday Honours List 2020

The New Zealand Order of Merit The Queen has been pleased, on the occasion of the celebration of Her Majesty's Birthday, to make the following appointments to The New Zealand Order of Merit: DNZM To be Dames Companion of the said Order: Distinguished ... More>>

Government: Support For Arts And Music Sector Recovery

A jobseekers programme for the creative sector and four new funds have been set up by the Government to help our arts and music industry recover from the blow of COVID-19. Thousands of jobs will be supported through today’s $175 million package ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: New Zealand Joins Global Search For COVID-19 Vaccine

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods, and Health Minister David Clark today announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, which will enable New Zealand scientists to contribute to global research efforts ... More>>

ALSO:

The Dig: Steady State Economics: We’ve Got Some (systems) Thinking To Do

In this time of impending economic and ecological crises, we urgently need to aim for a sustainable or ‘steady state’ economy. In order to get there, we will need to adopt a ‘systems-thinking’ outlook taking into account the interconnections of our complex world.

In short, we’ve got some systems thinking to do... More>>

ALSO:

Election 2020: Parties Get Into gear

The Green Party is pleased to reveal its candidate list for the upcoming election. With a mix of familiar faces and fresh new talent, this exceptional group of candidates are ready to lead the Greens back into Government. Using the most democratic list ... More>>

ALSO:

Insight Into Regenerative Agriculture In New Zealand

There is a fast growing movement in New Zealand that has been happening out in paddocks, fields, gardens and hill country across the nation. It is a movement that holds the promise to reshape our productive land use industries towards systems that work with the natural environment to regenerate the land. The movement is that of regenerative agriculture. More>>

ALSO:

Covid-19: Tracer App Released To Support Contact Tracing

The Ministry of Health has today formally released the NZ COVID Tracer app to support contact tracing in New Zealand. Kiwis who download the app will create a digital diary of the places they visit by scanning QR codes displayed at the entrances to ... More>>

ALSO:


Govt: Deep Concern At Hong Kong National Security Legislation
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today reiterated the deep concern of the New Zealand Government following confirmation by China’s National People’s Congress of national security legislation relating to Hong Kong.... More>>

ALSO:


 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels