I posted my thoughts on the NZ Govt’s. ‘New Drugs policy’ (based on the reported speech from the Minister) a while ago.. BUT recently I downloaded the 36 page document from the Govt. Website… it just confirms my initial thoughts; what is so ‘NEW’ about their policy/approach to drugs ?
The document is titled : ‘National Drug Policy 2015 – 2020’ with the subtitle – ‘minimise alcohol & other drug-related harm & promote & protect health & wellbeing’.. BUT nowhere in the document does it specify any alternative view; than the same tired, outdated & frankly unbalanced status quo. It is just tinkering around the edges. The mere fact that it refers to the topic subjects as : ‘ALCOHOL & OTHER DRUGS’ (AOD) draws the line between the ‘legal & illegal’ & it does not really aim to change this. The other thing that stuck out to me; the biggest ‘killer DRUG’: TOBACCO is not even mentioned in the document. I have read, that over 75% of all ‘drug-related’ deaths here & overseas are attributed directly to this DRUG.. & yet it is not included in the policy !! (maybe this Minister does not seriously consider it to be a ‘DRUG’ ?)
The opening ‘Foreword’ page basically sums up the content… talking about ‘harm related to drugs’ & mentions that the Govt. have ‘tightened the rules.. on alcohol’ (BUT it is still the second biggest ‘killer drug’ & totally legal). It talks about their 3 ‘buzz words’ : ‘Compassionate, Innovative & Proportionate’ BUT in regard to Cannabis & all ‘other drugs’ it still concludes that PROHIBITION is the solution. It goes on about ensuring access to drugs for medicinal purposes & even ‘assessing options for possession & utensils offences’ (as recommended by the NZ Law Comm. in 2011).. BUT this minister has said on many occasions that ‘laws prohibiting ‘leaf cannabis’ (natural bud) will not be changed in the forseeable future’ SO I for one, think this is just B-S to make it sound like he is ‘doing something new’.
The document also talks about :
1) Delaying access to young people
2) Reducing Illness & Injury
3) Reducing hazardous drinking of Alcohol
4) Shifting our attitudes
5) Disrupting organised crime
BUT it still appears to rely upon ‘Police, Customs & Corrections/Prisons’ as their main focus for dealing with ‘Other DRUGS’. It does not consider ‘decriminalisation’ or ‘legal regulation’ as viable options, to be considered.
It talks about their amended (failed) ‘Psychoactive Substances act’ that looks to regulate ‘low risk’ substances (once trialed & approved) BUT it is clear that it excludes ALL drugs currently covered by the ‘Misuse of Drugs act 1975’ (inc. natural cannabis) & appears to promote synthetics..
There is also a timeline for ‘actions’ which does mention : ‘Develop a NZ position for UNGASS 2016 (United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs). BUT based on other recent comments from this minister (including a speech in Vienna recently) methinks this will just be; “MAINTAIN THE STATUS QUO !!”
This document really just highlights this Govt. & Minister’s overall ‘Zero-Tolerance’ attitude to any changes (as IS happening overseas) & their real agenda.. ‘all talk, BUT… NO ACTION !’ 😦 😦