In Oceania, drug production, trafficking and consumption remain overwhelmingly a criminal justice issue. However, Australia and New Zealand have moved towards policies that prioritise health to respond to drug use. More recently, New Zealand made the headlines with the adoption of an innovative policy towards new psychoactive substances.
As New Zealand’s general election draws closer, some of the parliamentary candidates have been discussing drug policy after the 2017 Parliamentary Drug Policy Symposium was convened in early July by the NZ Drug Foundation to fuel debate on the subject.
The New Zealand Drug Foundation has proposed new drug laws that would decriminalise all drugs, and create a regulated cannabis market. Executive director Ross Bell outlines the foundation’s model drug law.
Prof. Alison Ritter argues that the substantial sums of money poured into law enforcement to reduce drug consumption are ineffectual. Rather, we should invest "continuously evaluated, evidence-based policies and programs”.
Bluelight, a new site for swapping information about drug batches, aims to fill the gap left by a lack of formal quality control. This can raise awareness of contaminants and variable purity within the drugs currently in circulation.