New Zealanders show no sign of a reduced appetite for drugs. Although patterns of supply and demand are constantly evolving, drug use carries on unabated. Yet New Zealand's drug laws have stood still.
The current law hinges on people being punished out of drug use. This failed approach is over 40 years old. In 2011 the NZ Law Commission recommended a fundamental overhaul, but still the law remains the same.
The human toll of this punitive approach is very high. Many people’s lives have been ruined by drug laws that are not fit for purpose. A conviction for a minor drug offence has a lifelong impact, and those already suffering socio-economic hardship and racial prejudice bear the brunt.
To move ahead, the speakers at the 2017 Parliamentary Drug Policy Symposium will share health-based approaches to drug policy that are rolling out in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and Aotearoa New Zealand. The symposium will look at legislative options and practical initiatives, as well as evidence for change.
Join the conversation about how to shift to healthy approaches to drug law in New Zealand.
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