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

 

New report highlights drug policy trends

TUESDAY 15 JANUARY 2019


A new State of the Nation report released today by the NZ Drug Foundation shows that while we are doing well in some areas, there is massive room for improvement.


The report highlights the unprecedented number of deaths in the past 18 months linked to synthetic cannabinoid substances. The coroner has indicated as many as 50 deaths may be connected with the use of synthetic drugs since June 2017.

“These deaths are an indictment and a reminder that our current approach is not working. The Government has just announced changes to how Police will deal with people in possession of drugs, along with new funding for frontline organisations dealing with the crisis. This is a great first step, but we can’t afford to be complacent about how our current drug law is affecting people,” Kali Mercier said.

The report summarises data from the criminal justice system. Of 62,173 convictions for drug offences in the decade to 2017, 61% of these were for low-level drug charges such as personal possession and use, or possession of a drug utensil. Convictions for low-level drug offences have been increasing over the last five years.

“Too many people are convicted on low-level drug charges every year. Nearly half are young people under 30, 80% are male, and 41% are Māori. A drug conviction affects relationships, employment and travel opportunities. That’s a life sentence for some, and it’s clear that the burden falls to some groups more than others,” Kali Mercier said.
The report notes:
• Illicit drug convictions are creeping up. In 2017, 5710 people were convicted on drugs charges – 61% of these convictions were for low-level drug offences.
• Low-level methamphetamine convictions have risen as cannabis convictions have tapered off, pushing overall rates up.
• More people are being imprisoned for low-level drug convictions, and over half of them are Māori.
• Nearly half of all drug convictions are handed out to people under 30 years.
Demand for addiction treatment continues to grow. 5,000 more people accessed treatment in 2017 than five years earlier.

“We would expect the resourcing for treatment at the very least to keep pace with rising demand. Yet the number of addiction treatment positions funded has barely grown in the past five years. This has compounded the underlying issue, which is that the sector as a whole is massively underfunded. We’re calling on the Government to acknowledge that when it sets next year’s Budget,” Kali Mercier said.

There are some bright lights in the way New Zealand responds to drug use. These include our Needle Exchange Programme, provision of opioid substitution therapy and a joint health and Police pilot initiative in Northland which offers health referrals rather than sanctions for methamphetamine use.

The Drug Foundation’s State of the Nation report is compiled from publicly available sources, including Ministry of Health databases, and data obtained from government released under the Official Information Act.

“This time around there is only so much we can say because New Zealand actually doesn’t do a great job of tracking illicit drug use, or the harm it causes to individuals and in communities,” Kali Mercier said.

“We hope that in the lead up to the cannabis referendum, the Government will be looking at gathering and publishing much more robust data on all drugs to inform the many decisions they’ll need to make if legalisation goes ahead.”

Download the full report: nzdrug.org/SOTN-2018

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Risk Of Being Short Changed By Pfizer

Who knew that the delivery of the Covid vaccines was going to be such a headache? All the predictions had been around the likely distribution problems. Would there be enough trained vaccinators around the country, a sufficient number of medical glass vials, a sufficiently robust “cold chain” to safely store the vaccines out in the field? All those issues remain. Currently though, production and delivery concerns are also hovering over whether the drug companies will live up to their contractual commitments, on time... More>>

 

National: Leader Of The Opposition’s State Of The Nation Speech

Kia ora and thank you for that welcome. It is a pleasure to be here. Thank you to the Rotary Club of Auckland and the EMA for hosting me at this first event in your centenary year. National and Rotary share many common principles, including community ... More>>

ALSO:

Ministry Of Health: Probable Case Of COVID-19 In A Returnee

The Ministry of Health is investigating a positive test result in a person who recently travelled from overseas and completed their stay in managed isolation in a facility in Auckland. In the case we are investigating and reporting today, the person had ... More>>


ALSO:


Oranga Tamariki: Chief Executive Grainne Moss Steps Down

Controversial Oranga Tamariki chief executive Grainne Moss has decided to step down. More>>

ALSO:

USA: Prime Minister Congratulates President Joe Biden On His Inauguration

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter ... More>>

ALSO:


Government: New Zealand And China Sign FTA Upgrade

Trade Ministers for New Zealand and China today signed an upgrade to the free trade agreement between the two countries. “This modernises our free trade agreement and ensures it will remain fit for purpose for another decade,” Minister for Trade ... More>>

Oxfam NZ: Wealth Of New Zealand’s Richest Person’s Soars By $3.4bn Since Beginning Of Pandemic

New Zealand’s richest citizen, Graeme Hart, has seen his fortune increase by NZ$3,494,333,333 since March 2020 – a sum equivalent to over half a million New Zealanders receiving a cheque for NZ$6,849 each, reveals a new analysis from Oxfam today. The New Zealand ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: New Public Housing Plan Announced

RT HON JACINDA ARDERN HON DR MEGAN WOODS The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government ... More>>

Government: Pre-Departure Testing Extended To All Passengers To New Zealand

To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels