Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Police
Jenny Marcroft, Spokesperson for Health
New Zealand First welcomes the announcement that two synthetic drug strains linked to recent deaths will be classified as Class A under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, with additional funding support for community addiction services.
“New Zealand First has always taken a firm, common sense approach to illicit drug use,” says Spokesperson for Police Darroch Ball.
“The Class A classification is far more appropriate for synthetic drugs that have taken too many lives already. Introducing the new C1 category provides greater flexibility and responsiveness to bring new drugs into the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.
“The measures announced today provide police with the right powers to combat dealers and manufacturers. This is targeted policing - giving greater search, surveillance and seizure powers, as well as harsher penalties for offenders,” Mr Ball added.
Police will also be given discretion in law to not prosecute users for possession and use depending on the seriousness and wider implications of the offence, and where they believe a therapeutic approach would be more beneficial.
The introduction of the Acute Drug Harm Response Discretionary Fund provides the support needed for communities to deal with addictions, overdoses and deaths. The fund allocates more resources for drug training in communities, as well as increased funding for Ministry of Health drug and alcohol initiatives.
“Synthetic drugs are a scourge on our communities. As Acting Prime Minister, Winston Peters called for swift government response following a spike the number of deaths caused by synthetic drugs.
“These measures will help those users who are suffering from addiction problems and mental health issues. We need to put the focus on saving lives and rehabilitation,” says Health Spokesperson Jenny Marcroft.
“Action against synthetics is vital. These changes will deliver an approach to turn around the harm caused by synthetic drugs,” added Ms Marcroft.