Also, just to set the record straight, Anna Wood died from hyponatremia because she’d been spun bullshit stories about drugs by people like Drug Free Australia, and thought drinking gallons of water would keep her safe.
If she’d been able to talk with an organisation like KnowYourStuffNZ beforehand, we could have set her straight on that.
It's actually pretty telling that they had to go as far as McCroskie to get an opposing viewpoint IMO.
Yes, we communicate with Chloe and other politicians fairly regularly. We appear to have cross-party support from individual MPs but are keen to see that develop into cohesive action.
Hi, I am the Director of KnowYourStuffNZ. We are actively working with authorities and event organisers to develop consistent best practice for harm reduction at events. This includes developing an appropriate format for issuing alerts about dangerous substances. There are already successful models being used overseas and it will be fairly simple for NZ to adapt one of those for our use, however historically there has been little will to do this work. We have welcomed the indications that the attitudes may be changing.
All of our work would be assisted by the government following up its interest in a health-focused approach to drugs with some action on reviewing the MoDA to remove the barriers to harm reduction that currently exist.
I think there is an argument for the value of access to lower risk drugs as a potential means of directing people away from higher risk ones. However, there will always be those who seek out the higher risk ones, and in my view that use is much less likely to be damaging if it happens in the light of day rather than in dark marginalised corners.
And of course no discussion of risk is complete if we don't give alcohol a mention. Especially in terms of ER visits and violence towards others.
These could be a bit off because they're from memory, but I think it's about 8% of regular meth users that end up on the problematic use spectrum. For alcohol is about 16%, for heroin about 24% . So really, while meth damage is the sexy topic right now, in context I don't think singling out meth contibutes to overall harm reduction in any useful way.
As you are suggesting long prison time as a 'solution' to an alleged problem with methamphetamine, it would be good if you could demonstrate how harsher punishments for supply of methamphetamine has reduced the harm associated with the drug in other countries.
It would also be good if you could explain how emergency department staff fearing for their safety warrants ratcheting up prohibition and its punishments for methamphetamine, but not, say, for alcohol.
Finally, please consider how it's possible for a drug like methamphetamine to be administered to children in the US (Desoxyn) while being demonised in NZ, alongside contemplation of the correlation between the marginalisation of a drug and its users, and the harm associated with the drug.
Prohibition is not, and has never been, a solution, regardless of the dangers associated with specific substances. We need to do better.
Amphetamine use in NZ has been stable for about 8 years. It is a moral panic, and part of the reason for that is that the marginalisation of methamphetamine and its users means that problematic meth use is now centred in poor communities – and we all know that everything poor people do is something to panic about.
Meanwhile Fentanyl is a very useful drug for anaesthesia and is quite safe when administered under supervision in accurately measured doses. It’s when its misrepresented as something else in a market with no quality control that deaths occur.
Neither of these drugs are poisons any more than other drugs, and the harms associated with them are a direct result of the lack of regulation in illicit markets. The solution to this is not more punishment – that method has had 45 years to work and has failed spectacularly to reduce use or harm.
KnowYourStuffNZ would like nothing better than to be put out of business by a better system, one that includes legal purchase, quality control, and labelling, and doesn't pretend that prohibition had ever worked.
The illicit drug market is global. Economics + distance would be my guess. But it is just a guess.
Thanks Steven, the needle exchange model is the one most apt to apply to what we’re doing. They also began with ‘ethical non- compliance’ that produced evidence which demonstated its value.
Hopefully it won’t take the government 20 years to catch up this time.
Hi Steven, Wendy Allison from KnowYourStuffNZ here. While we try to stay involved in discussions where we can, we are all volunteers and have full time jobs, and as you can imagine today has been quite busy for us already. If you have any questions, please fire away but we can't guarantee a speedy response.
We are quite happy to pour compliments on Russell - he is awesome and his grasp of the issues is streets ahead of the majority of folks commenting in this field.