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Amendment to Misuse of Drugs Act will ensure addiction is treated like the health issue it is

The Green Party welcomes the introduction of legislation to address the synthetic drugs crisis and broader addiction problems in Aotearoa. 

“Today we’re tabling the most fundamental change in drug law in New Zealand in over 30 years”, Green Party spokesperson on drug law reform Chlöe Swarbrick said. 

“Working with Police, the Government has developed a process to see that those caught in the web of addiction are supported into care and recovery, instead of being pushed into the criminal system, where problems often get far worse. 

“Today we’re living up to the rhetoric as a country that implements evidence-based policy, and one that prioritises compassion. Less people will be unnecessarily locked up behind bars, and we’ll see better social outcomes through treatment. 

“Alongside frontline police, mental health and addiction sector workers, the Greens have advocated loud and clear for over a decade to see drug addiction and abuse treated as the health issue it is. We are proud this is part of our Confidence and Supply agreement with Labour. 

“Mountains of evidence shows that when we take people down the criminal pathway we do nothing to reduce drug use or demand. Instead we increase the harm to those with addiction problems, their communities, and produce greater drug and gang associated crime. 

“Ministry of Health data illustrates 16% of drug users don’t access help because of fear of prosecution. This law change will save lives.”