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Matters of Substance - November 2016

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Matters of Substance November 2016 cover

Features

Gangs trial new ways

Police, researchers, politicians and even gang members themselves will tell you that gangs play a significant role in the drug trade in this country, but the focus and reputations of some of New Zealand’s infamous ethnic street gangs seem to be changing. Some sparks will fly as these and other gangs come up against the government’s Gang Action Plan. Keri Welham reports.

There’s something wrong with the sentences

Under the irrelevant and outdated Misuse of Drugs Act, cannabis penalties and convictions in New Zealand remain inconsistent, disproportionate, unjust and largely ineffective, especially for Māori. Catriona MacLennan looks at the facts and at why it’s seriously time to start afresh.

Hepatitis C – new hope on the horizon

Pharmac has recently started funding new drugs that have amazing curative effects for more than half of people in New Zealand with hepatitis C. The wait continues for those for whom the drugs are not suitable, but there may be good news on the horizon. Russell Brown reports.

Country profile: Colorado

Cannabis-based lotions, patches, bath salts, jelly babies, chocolates, acne treatments, lip balms, toothpastes and toothpicks are all now on sale in Colorado dispensaries. This wild-west reborn offering to meet every conceivable consumer choice has grown rapidly since cannabis was legalised in 2014. It’s seen as an economic bonanza by many and as an unhinged experiment by others. It’s too soon to say what the long-term health effects will be. This is the second of our country profiles.

Regulars

Director’s Cut November 2016

It's been a big year, with some major milestones in drug policy world. Much has been achieved, but challenges a plenty remain explains Executive Director Ross Bell.

P: New Zealand’s P history

Redmer Yska traces the development of amphetamine manufacture and its history of use in New Zealand.

Sorry … but we just can’t wait around

Rethinking the mental health and addictions system and describing what success would look like is not a job for the faint hearted. Setting aside the many dramatic headlines, those working in community-based organisations are getting serious about transformation of this vital landscape. Platform Trust Chief Executive Marion Blake outlines the issues and the NGO sector response.

Viewpoints: Is it ok for the New Zealand Police to interpret drug laws as they please, or does this sabotage the sanctity of law in general?

The majority of New Zealanders support change to our cannabis laws, but the political appetite for this is low. Meanwhile, a drop in Police prosecutions for cannabis offences points to a silent relaxation of drug policy. Is this the right way to go, or is it inherently discriminatory and unconstitutional?

How Duterte’s drug war taps into the Philippines’ zeitgeist

The violence and mayhem being unleashed in a brutal War on Drugs in the Philippines shows no sign of abating. Mark R Thompson outlines what has been happening and the historical backdrop. Story courtesy of The Conversation.

Q&A Lizzie McMillan-Makalio

Trained social worker Lizzie McMillan-Makalio is manager of the site known as Wesley Community Action-Waitangirua, where six community services are run. Venturing into new territory and speaking up for her local community are all become part of the job.

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