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The New Zealand Drug Foundation today expressed its strong support for the Government’s “Tackling methamphetamine” action plan, saying that it represents an important first step in rebalancing New Zealand’s approach to reducing drug harm.

The Government released the full details of the action plan yesterday (Tuesday 14 October) following the Prime Minister’s announcement last week.

“Last week’s media coverage of the Prime Minister’s methamphetamine plan was dominated by the cold flu tablet sideshow. This meant the public weren’t given an accurate picture of the complete plan”, said Drug Foundation Executive Director Ross Bell.

“Little attention was given to the $22 million investment into drug treatment, which was the centrepiece of the Government’s plan.

“For too long successive governments have underinvestment in drug treatment and harm prevention, while at the same time have given the lion share of funding to Police and Customs.

“The new investment creates better routes into treatment through more addiction services and a stronger workforce, and is a fantastic first step in addressing that imbalance. And we know it’s a good investment, with every one dollar into treatment bringing a $4 to $7 cost saving to society.

“While there was a lot of noise made about the pseudoephedrine reclassification, especially from vested interests, we suspect there are many New Zealand families quietly celebrating the government’s treatment funding decision,” said Mr Bell.

The Drug Foundation also said the prevention, education and community action parts of the plan represent a shift towards a more balanced approach to addressing drug problems.

As part of the plan, the Drug Foundation is creating a new drug information resource to educate families and people who use drugs about the effects of methamphetamine and how to access treatment through a centralised web resource. The Ministry of Health has committed $1 million over 3 years to this resource.

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