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What are some of the unmet health needs for people that use drugs, that exacerbate or even cause drug harm? What is the therapeutic potential of psychedelics and how can we harness it? What steps are others taking towards preventing overdose that we need to consider here in Aotearoa as overdose fatalities grow? What health needs aren’t being met for people labelled ‘drug-seeking’ by their health practitioners?

Together with the Cross-Party Group for Mental Health and Addiction, we invite you to be part of the conversation on how we can work together to reduce drug harm at the 2023 NZ Drug Foundation Parliamentary Symposium.

We’re bringing together a powerful line-up of speakers who will share practical, evidence-based solutions and ideas, and ask what is needed to address unmet health needs and build political agreement. We can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

Get your symposium tickets here

01 June

NZ Drug Foundation Parliamentary Symposium

9am - 5.30pm

Parliament Buildings, 1 Museum Street, Wellington

Organiser: NZ Drug Foundation & The Cross Party Group for Mental Health & Addiction

Event website

Symposium Programme:

8:00-9.15am Registrations

9:00am Mihi whakatau

9:45am Kai

10:00am Opening address

Chair: Tuari PotikiChairperson, NZ Drug Foundation 

Keynote speakers: Sione CrawfordCEO of Harm Reduction Victoria and Arild KnutsenLeader of the Association for Humane Drug Policies, Norway 

10:30am Panel: Unmet health needs

Chair: Sarah Helm, Executive Director NZ Drug Foundation.  

  • Suzanne Cookson, Chief Executive, ADHD NZ 

  • Michelle Petricevich, Te Ara Oranga & Clinical Team Manager, Te Whatu Ora 

  • Isra Morris, Community Activator, NZ Drug Foundation 

  • Kelly Feng, Chief Executive for Asian Family Services 

  • Jacqui Dillon, GM – Brand Innovation & Income, Auckland City Mission 

  • Tricia Walsh, Lived Experience

11:30am Innovation pitch: Anna Christophorou, Speed Freaks

11:40am Panel: Unmet needs for Māori

Chair: Gilbert Taurua 

  • Billy Macfarlane, General Manager, Tikanga Aroro Charitable Trust 

  • Dr Hinemoa Elder, MNZM, Psychiatrist 

  • Haehaetu Barrett, Chief Executive Officer, Lifewise 

  • Aroha Metcalf, General Manager Oranga Hinengaro, Te Aka Whai Ora  

  • Ngaire Smith, Lived Experience. 

12:30pm Innovation pitch: Billy Macfarlane, Tikanga Aroro Charitable Trust

12:45pm Lunch

1:15pm Panel: Psychedelics as new therapeutic interventions and medicines

Short 5 min presentations each followed by a conversation led by Russell Brown 

Chair: Russell Brown 

  • Dr Suresh Muthukumaraswamy (Associate Professor, University of Auckland)
  • Manu Caddie (Co-Founder Matawai Bio) 
  • Dr Mitchell Head (Neuroscientist, University of Waikato)
  • Zach Cotogni (Blue Honey author)
  • Dr Jacek Kolodziej (Policy Director, NZ Drug Foundation)

2:15pm Overdose prevention keynote: Scottish Drug Deaths, Kirsten Horsburgh, CEO, Scottish Drugs Forum 

Followed by a short presentation on New Zealand's overdose fatalities by Emily Hughes, Principal Science Advisor, NZ Drug Foundation

3:00pm Coffee break

3:15pm Reflections and perspectives from The Cross-Party Group for Mental Health and Addiction

This group was launched at Parliament on 28 August 2019, and includes an MP from each party in Parliament. Speaking: Arena Williams (Labour) Chlöe Swarbrick (Green Party), Matt Doocey (National Party) and Mark Cameron (ACT Party). 

4:00pm Practical workshop: Learn to identify and respond to an overdose

4:30pm Panel discussion: Barriers to healthcare for people with addiction or otherwise labelled ‘drug-seeking’ 

Chair: Ben Birks Ang, Deputy Director NZ Drug Foundation. 

  • Sarikha Rosli (Lived Experience)
  • Helen Lockett (Equally Well)
  • Sheridan Pooley (CADS Regional Consumer Advisor)

5:00pm Closing Address: Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare

5:30pm Closing

5.30pm - 7:00pm Canapes & an address from Her Excellency, The Rt Hon Dame Cindy Kiro GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand in celebration of New Years Honours recipients Lotta Dann MNZM and Wendy Allison MNZM 

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