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Directors Cut

Ross Bell MOS

Ross Bell
Executive Director

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If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

So says the African proverb underpinning the major shift in strategic direction we launch this month.

We’re very proud of our achievements so far but, we’re now turning the dial to 11 with a strong focus on leading change in how New Zealand deals with ‘the drug problem’.

We have built a strong, sustainable and successful organisation through effective advocacy on critical issues, expansion of our drug information services and increased investment by government and others.

We’ve remained innovative with our communications, including greater use of social media, and we’ve broadened our relationships with the AOD sector and beyond. As we head into our 25th year, we can now use this strong foundation to lead and influence greater change and make a powerful impact.

Our vision of an ‘Aotearoa New Zealand free from drug harm’ doesn’t change, but our mission – being a catalyst for broad action on drug harm reduction – and our way of working will.

Being a catalyst means inspiring others to do better and recognising we can’t do things alone. So we’re informed by the concept of ‘collective impact’, which demands commitment from across different sectors to a common agenda.

It means being a critical friend, especially to government, to help improve its drug harm prevention responses. We are committed to building enduring consensus for new health-focused drug policy and legislation.

It also means we will invest effort into engaging with stakeholders. We understand the increasing importance of social media, not only as an engagement tool, but also because it means organisations can stop talking at people and start two-way conversations.

We have identified key stakeholders to work with, but we want to make special mention of certain groups: those most affected by drugs and drug policy including people who use drugs, especially young people, consumers of services, Māori and Pasifika people.We also want solutions based on people’s and communities’ strengths.

We want to lead efforts that reduce the stigma faced by people most affected by drug policy.

Good communication will be vital. We reckon our style can be described as communicating ‘evidence with attitude’. We use the best public health science in a way that provokes positive change.

Five core outcomes underpin our new plan:

  1. Law and public policy will encourage more positive drug harm prevention.
  2. The AOD sector’s impact on prevention and treatment will be more effective.
  3. Attitudes and behaviours around drug use will change positively.
  4. Effective responses will be found for new and emerging drug harm challenges.
  5. Young New Zealanders will stay engaged in education.
  6. We hope you will share this sense of purpose and help support our work.

Contact us for a copy of our new statement of strategic direction.

Ross Bell
Executive Director

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