The lack of a thorough understanding about the complex issue of drugs and driving must not be an excuse for inaction – this is the theme of the 2nd International Drugs and Driving Symposium being held in Wellington this week.
100 road safety delegates from New Zealand, Europe, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia are meeting on 12 and 13 November to discuss how to tackle the complex problem of drug driving.
"We mustn't fall asleep at the wheel when it comes to drug driving. Many think otherwise, but we know real harm is caused by people driving after using illicit drugs and prescription medicines, and especially when mixed with alcohol," says said Ross Bell, Executive Director of the New Zealand Drug Foundation.
"A cautious response to the issue is beginning to change with improved analysis of road injuries and death, and better science about the impairing effects of drugs. The onus is now on governments to respond with new laws, improved enforcement and public education."
"For many decades, road safety efforts focused on the problem of alcohol and driving through good enforcement, education and law change. We want to keep doing this but make sure attention is also paid to the risks from other drugs like cannabis and prescription medicines. Up until now we didn't have enough good science to identify how big the problem is."
The two day symposium will provide a forum of over 20 of the world's leading drug driving experts to discuss the importance of tackling this issue using different tactics. Topics include:
The symposium will hear from drug policy researcher Professor Mark Kleiman about how states in the US are addressing drug driving with cannabis legalisation. Martin Ellis from the UK Department of Transport will discuss the new drug drive thresholds being passed into law this month. Other topics include:
The New Zealand Drug Foundation will co-host the symposium with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction. The Minister of Police Hon. Michael Woodhouse will open the symposium, which will be the biggest drug driving conference to be held in New Zealand.
Further information about the symposium including the full conference programme is online at www.drugdriving.org.nz Follow twitter hastag #drugdrivingnz
17 June 2021
[Video] Fifty years ago, Richard Nixon announced his intention to wage an all-out war on drugs - and NZ soon followed. It's time for a bette...
16 April 2021
On the eve of the NZ release of The US vs Billie Holiday, Russell Brown talks to Johann Hari about the movie, compassionate drug policy, & w...
25 March 2021
Recently Oregon became the first US state to decriminalise all drug use, the latest of many changes there and around the world.
17 December 2020
Drug law reform got majority support in several US states, and is heading off in new directions. Russell Brown pulled this summary together
Back to top