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Drug addiction to be treated like a health issue

The Green Party welcome today’s plan to address the synthetic drugs crisis and broader addiction problems in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

“Supporting people into care and recovery will be set down in law as the first measure for Police on the front lines, rather than pushing people with addiction problems down a criminal pathway,” Green Party spokesperson on drug law reform Chlöe Swarbrick said. 

“This is an evidence-based step to reduce drug harm, drug demand, and drug supply. 

“We know 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 and to communities. We also increase gang control and associated criminality. 

“This Government has listened to the evidence and is acting with compassion to create a pathway of care and recovery for people with addiction problems. 

“This is a huge step that points the way to a more sensible approach to drug policy than the tough-on-crime rhetoric we have seen fail over many years, all over the world. 

“More funding for health responses to drug addiction will mean those directed to therapeutic care will get the support and help they need.  

“The Green Party is proud to be part of a Government that is serious about a health-based approach. 

“This is rhetoric we’ve heard from all Parties in Parliament and today we’re seeing deeply meaningful action. 

“I’d like to thank the Labour and NZ First Parties for working with us to create a society where we walk the talk in treating addiction as the health issue it is, requiring care and recovery not criminalisation”.