Media Release February 12, 2010
Family First NZ is congratulating the Minister of Justice Simon Power for rejecting the Law Commission’s proposals to soften the laws around drugs.
“The harm minimization message on drugs has been short-selling our young people and families and sends a confusing message. The government has responded to a suggestion of liberalizing the enforcement of drug laws with a resounding no – the same message we need to give to people considering using drugs,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“This is the exact message that parents are also trying to give their children, and their efforts should be reinforced by government social policy and laws.”
“The Law Commission would be well aware through the recent review that a liberalized approach to alcohol over the past two decades has had huge social ramifications. Yet here they are now pushing a liberalized approach to other drugs.”
“They are completely out of step with public sentiment and research to suggest that the harm of drugs is ‘overblown’. Research by the Drug Foundation in 2007 found that just 19 per cent wanted cannabis laws liberalized. 46 per cent of the population wanted no change to cannabis laws, and 34 per cent wanted laws to be made tougher.”
And researchers from the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, Wakefield Hospital and the Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences found that a single cannabis joint could damage the lungs as much as smoking up to five tobacco cigarettes one after another.”
Family First agrees that there should be more emphasis on rehabilitation and drug education, but to soften the approach to enforcement will send the completely wrong message. Enforcement and rehabilitation must both be part of the package.
“We need to focus on the effects on health of using drugs, links with mental illness, high use by school pupils, driving under the influence of cannabis, and the progression from lesser drugs to more dangerous drugs like P,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“The government is to be congratulated for sending a strong unequivocal message against liberalizing drug laws.”