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Announcing: 2017 Through the Maze: "Healthy Drug Law" Parliamentary Symposium

Release Date: 
Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Save the Date: 5-6 July 2017

In mid-2017, the Drug Foundation is hosting an international drug policy symposium on how New Zealand can develop drug laws that are fit for the 21st Century. 

What do we want to see happen with drug law in New Zealand?

The tide is turning internationally as more and more countries shift toward better ways to control drugs. The results are clear: dropping punitive ways of dealing with drugs in favour of regulated approaches leads to positive health and social justice outcomes.  Prohibition just doesn’t work.

In New Zealand, too many people’s lives are ruined by drug laws that are not fit for purpose. A conviction for a minor drug offence has a lifelong impact, and those that are already suffering socio-economic hardship and racial prejudice bear the brunt.

The time has come to look for solutions. We need to:

  • Recognise that prohibition has not worked. Convicting people for drug use doesn’t stop them taking drugs, but it does contribute to lifelong disadvantage
  • Invest in an approach to drugs that better protects people (especially young people) from harm. Re-prioritise spending so more goes to prevention, education and treatment
  • Ensure that everyone who needs help can access it
  • Back the things that work: not enforcement, but health and social interventions, and
  • Reduce crime and take control away from the black market.

Faced with this turning tide, now is the time to talk about how we are going to put in place drug law and policy that promotes health and wellbeing.

So how can we do this? Let's start creating the world we want together. At this symposium we have an amazing line up of speakers ready to share practical, evidence-based solutions and ideas from around the world.

Speaking line-up (so far)

Our speakers will sow seeds about what works. Confirmed speakers:

Anne McLellan, former Deputy Prime Minister, Justice & Health Minister; and Chair, Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, Canada

Alison Holcomb, Chief Executive Officer at Action Now Initiative, USA

Marianne Jauncey, Medical Director, Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Room, NSW

Nicole Lee, Professor at the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia and Director at 360Edge, Western Australia

Fiona Measham, Professor of Criminology, Durham Univesity, UK

Alison Ritter, Director, Drug Policy Modelling Program, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, NSW

Save the Date

Wednesday 5 - Thursday 6 July, 2017

Banquet Hall, Parliament, Wellington.

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Tell us your name and email address via email admin@drugfoundation.org.nz, or phone 04 801 6303.