TVNZ One News 2 May 2018
Family First New Zealand are calling for a Government review into the taxpayer funding of the NZ Drug Foundation, slamming advice provided through its Drug Help programme as “foolish” and “inappropriate at all levels for all ages”.
The outrage comes after a concerned Massey High School parent shared two photos to Facebook taken from Drug Help’s MethHelp handbook provided to Year 13 Health students as a resource to help with research for an assignment.
The MethHelp Handbook, which can also be found on the New Zealand Drug Foundation’s Drug Help website, a programme funded by the Ministry of Health, features two pages showing “10 ways to keep well if using meth”.
“The material which has rightly upset parents from the drughelp.org.nz site is also on the Drug Foundation’s website. The Drug Foundation benefits from thousands of dollars from the taxpayer each year. Yet in the last few years, problems with meth use have massively increased. When children see ‘advice on how to use a drug’, there is an implied approval of the activity,” says Family First NZ national director Bob McCoskrie.
Earlier today NZ Drug Foundation’s Executive Director Ross Bell told 1 NEWS the Drug Help resources are not specifically designed as student resources, but anyone can use the booklets which are aimed at people wanting to quit, or lesson their use of the drug.
The Drug Foundation were happy for Massey High School to use the resource as it was building awareness and “recognising meth is an issue in the community”.
“We should never shy away from that,” said Mr Bell.
In a statement provided to 1 NEWS, Massey High School said the material shared by a concerned parent to Facebook “has been taken out of context”, and “the school does not condone illegal drug use, drugs on the school campus, nor does it teach its pupils how to use drug instruments”.
The book in question is a resource provided to Year 13 students undertaking the Health 301 course.
As part of this course students are asked to “analyse a New Zealand Health Issue“, in this case it was methamphetamine use by 15-24-year-olds.
“It is one resource which aims to provide context for students around an issue which negatively impacts far too many young people in New Zealand,” Massey High School said in the statement.
But Family First’s Mr McCoskrie says, “Children who have experienced this programme will be wondering why they are being taught to take drugs”.
“As the country faces the horrors of a meth epidemic, the messages of the Drug Foundation should be rejected. As the police acknowledge, illicit drugs cause significant harm, not only for the person using it, but for their families, friends and communities, and it is also a driver of other crimes, including violent crime and dishonesty crime.”