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To ensure the 52nd Parliament makes health a central focus of drug policy and law in New Zealand, the Drug Foundation has sent a comprehensive briefing to all MPs.
We are all concerned about the harm caused by drugs in New Zealand. But there are solutions. We need our politicians to see that these solutions are sensible and achievable.
We think we can achieve an Aotearoa free from drug harm, if we focus on these four priorities:
Alcohol and drug use is one of the most common reasons for students being excluded or expelled. But schools are a major protective factor for reducing alcohol and drug harm. We want to work with the government to strengthen the health curriculum and fund relevant and targeted initiatives to make sure young people stay in school and get the help they need.
We want a happier, healthier, more equal New Zealand. Currently we have drug laws that stand in the way. Our model drug law Whakawātea te Huarahi lays out a roadmap to show government how to replace the outdated drug laws and treat drug use as a health issue, not a crime.
We would like to see all those who are struggling with their drug use able to access a full range of evidence-based support options at the time they are needed. This means investing in a full range of services, including prevention and education, harm reduction and treatment.
We want to reduce the harm caused by drugs. This means prioritising and strengthening a range of harm reduction initiatives that protect the rights of people and support local solutions for communities. We particularly want to see proper guidelines on the appropriate use of drug testing, immediate action on a multi-agency early warning system and an evidence-based approach to dealing with methamphetamine “contamination” in homes.
A number of important legislative reviews and amendments are already on the agenda for 2018. We make recommendations here on issues including law reform, medicinal cannabis, methamphetamine residue in houses and the upcoming review of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013.