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What would you do if someone you love was struggling with their drug use?

We want the government to take a more compassionate approach to drugs, and to support people who are struggling instead of punishing them. The Drug Foundation has been working hard for over 30 years to change Aotearoa New Zealand's unfair and damaging drug laws which criminalise people and can prevent them getting help.

In July 2017 the Drug Foundation released Whakawātea te Huarahi, a bold roadmap for drug law reform in Aotearoa New Zealand. The model drug law is based on evidence and research from New Zealand and around the world about the best way to reduce drug harm.

‘Whakawātea’ means to clear, free up, cleanse or purify spiritually, while ‘huarahi’ is a pathway, road or track. The title of our model drug law is intended to signify a fresh start for the debate on drug policy and a sense of movement towards a better future.

The economics of drug law reform

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In October 2018 The Drug Foundation, together with Matua Raki and the Needle Exchange, commissioned an independent economic analysis of our model drug law, Whakawātea te Huarahi. The report tests the costs and benefits of decriminalising the use and possession of all drugs, legalising cannabis, and investing more effectively in prevention, education, harm reduction and treatment. The figures show that drug law reform adds up.

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Key documents for download:

The Drug Foundation's submission to the Government's Mental Health & Addictions Inquiry

NZ Drug Foundation submission to MHA inquiry 2018 ( PDF 415kb )

Whakawātea te Huarahi, our model drug law

Whakawātea te Huarahi July2017 ( PDF 3.2mb )

You can find all the details of what responsible cannabis regulation could look like in our policy document, Taking Control of Cannabis.

Taking control of Cannabis ( PDF 2.8mb )

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