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

 

Police discretion for drug offences needs greater funding

An amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act which will improve the way Police use discretion for drug offences is a further step towards treating drugs as a health issue. But greater funding for health and social services is urgently needed for the scheme to be successful, Executive Director, NZ Drug Foundation Ross Bell said today.

An amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act which will improve the way Police use discretion for drug offences is a further step towards treating drugs as a health issue. But greater funding for health and social services is urgently needed for the scheme to be successful, Executive Director, NZ Drug Foundation Ross Bell said.

“This amendment is the most significant, positive change to our drug law in over four decades,” said Mr Bell. “It will clarify in law what is becoming common Police practice. It will ensure the increasing use of alternative resolutions is applied equally across the country and to Māori.

“Police often say, ‘we can’t arrest our way out of New Zealand’s drug problem’ and many Districts have been experimenting with different diversion and health referral schemes. But they also say these efforts are frustrated by a lack of health and social support in many communities.

“For this law change to be meaningful, the government urgently needs to invest resources into drug harm reduction, prevention and treatment services. Currently drug law enforcement receives over three times the funding that health services do, and it’s time the government switched the scales.

“There are already proven services where Police and health agencies work closely to divert people away from the criminal justice system into health and social support. Northland’s Te Ara Oranga Methamphetamine Harm Reduction Programme is a gold standard service which the government should expand to other Police Districts.

This law change follows reports linking dangerous synthetic drugs with over 50 deaths and hundreds of emergency callouts since July 2017. Families report they face barriers getting access to help for a loved one experiencing hazardous use of synthetics.

“We have previously asked the government to double the amount of funding for drug treatment in order to meet the existing high demand for services. This remains an urgent need. The government must ensure it delivers on its commitments to better fund drug services in the upcoming ‘wellbeing budget’.

“The amendment announced today is a fantastic development but doesn’t go far enough. Our drug law is no longer fit-for-purpose; the recent Mental Health and Addictions Inquiry recommended much bigger reforms are needed. A total overhaul of the Misuse of Drugs Act is a priority.

In the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry report, it is recommended that criminal sanctions for the possession for personal use of controlled drugs be replaced with civil responses, and to support the law change a full range of treatment and detox services is made available. The Government response to recommendations is due this month.

“The government also needs to monitor how the amendment is implemented in all Police Districts to ensure the changes are applied consistently throughout the country. This is especially important for Māori, who currently miss out on many diversion and alternative resolution schemes.”

© 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