MHF welcomes Government’s response to synthetic drug use

13 Dec, 2018

MEDIA RELEASE

The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) welcomes the Government’s announcement that it will make it easier for those with synthetic drug use problems to get the help they deserve.

“The measures announced today will significantly enhance New Zealand’s response to mental health and wellbeing, because addictions are often closely tied to mental health problems,” MHF chief executive Shaun Robinson says.

The Government has responded to synthetic drug use as a health issue, acknowledging that criminalising and punishing people for using drugs like synthetic cannabis does not solve any problems.

“We need to support synthetic drug users to get treatment and rehabilitation, and this is what the Government is doing,” Mr Robinson says.

“The Government are allowing the police to use their discretion to not prosecute for possession and personal use where a therapeutic approach would be more beneficial,” adds Mr Robinson.

The Government has also announced they will make more funding available for rehabilitation.

“These are great initiatives which lean into the harm-reduction approach proposed in the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry report. These rightly identify addiction as a health issue, not a criminal issue,” Mr Robinson says.

“At the same time, criminal prosecution approaches have been strengthened for synthetic drug suppliers and manufacturers, which is entirely appropriate.”

The MHF hopes today’s announcement indicates that the Government will support the significant changes in direction on mental health recommended within the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry report.

ENDS

For further information or comment, please contact:

Amanda Wickman 
Senior Communications & Marketing Officer
Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand
Mobile: 021 2338517