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Acute drug harm is a sudden surge or increase of intense harms associated with drug use. The synthetic cannabinoid crisis, which claimed the lives of more than 70 people in 2017, is New Zealand’s most recent case of acute drug harm.

Acute drug harm can vary widely, from New Zealand’s ongoing problems with methamphetamine, to mass hospitalisations from toxic synthetic cathinones at festivals. 

While we can’t stop all acute drug harm, we can prevent and reduce as much harm as possible by transforming our response. This is already starting to happen:

  • The government announced a dedicated $8.6 million acute drug harm discretionary fund in December 2018. This fund is being used over four years to support community responses.
  • The Drug Foundation is partnering with key agencies to build a community of practice. Together, this group supports innovative responses to acute drug harm, building best practice and sharing the latest drug trends.

Getting involved

If you are working in the addiction or social sector and would like to be involved in this kaupapa, please email Emily Hughes, Programme Lead, for more information: emily.hughes@drugfoundation.org.nz

Visit High Alert to see recent drug warnings

Check out Highalert.org.nz to get the latest information and warnings about drug trends in New Zealand. 

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