Fewer low-level drug charges laid, health referrals increase

By November 14, 2019 Recent News

Radio NZ News 15 November 2019
The month after a law change on low level drug offending the number of people charged over low-level meth offences dropped by almost a third.

The number sent to health services rose, including people caught in possession of methamphetamine or the utensils used to consume the drug.

But those dealing with the health issues related to addiction say they need more resources to deal with increased numbers.

In July, 488 people were charged for low level methamphetamine offences, including possession, consumption and the possession of drug utensils.

The following month, after an alteration to the Misuse of Drugs Act which gave police more discretion when dealing with low level drug crime 170 fewer people were charged over meth offending.

According to the numbers RNZ has obtained under the Official Information Act, about half the number of people were charged with cannabis possession in September as they were six months earlier.

In April, 413 people were charged with an offence, compared to 223 in September. The number dropped each month.

During the same months, the number of people referred to health services doubled.
READ MORE: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/403327/fewer-low-level-drug-charges-laid-health-referrals-increase
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