500 signatures reached
To: The Prime Minister
Fund health services not handcuffs
Dear Prime Minister,
We support your call to treat drug use as a health issue. This is especially important right now because every week people are dying from synthetic cannabinoids. Many want to access help, but find it’s just not available. You’ve got some big decisions coming up very soon about next year’s Budget. We the undersigned ask you to follow through on your commitment to treat drugs as a health issue by:
• Doubling the investment for drug-related treatment and harm-reduction initiatives in Budget 2019. This means putting aside an extra $150million.
• Ensuring that people using synthetics and other dangerous drugs get a referral to health and other services, rather than a criminal conviction. The Law Commission proposed a workable system in 2011 – it’s time to implement their recommendations.
Why is this important?
By mid-December the Government will have made some important decisions about next year’s Budget. First in their minds should be a focus on improving the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders - especially those who are most vulnerable.
Unfortunately, by the time the Government makes their budget decisions there’s also a good chance more people will have tragically died from the use of synthetic cannabinoids. There have been 50 deaths at least over the past 18 months, and there is no chance this public health crisis will fix itself. Continuing to punish people who use drugs will only make things worse.
We have a plan to turn things around. If the government makes the right funding decisions now, and follows this up by legislating for a health-based approach to drug use, we can save lives.
Investing in health and treatment also makes economic sense. An economic report released in October, "Estimating the Impact of Drug Policy Options", found that if we invest $150million extra in drug-related harm reduction and treatment programmes, this would return a social benefit for New Zealand of at least $225million.
Sign the petition to ask the Prime Minister to ensure that next year’s Budget reflects just how urgent this crisis is. Let’s ensure that everyone can access help when and where they need it.
This petition is supported by JustSpeak, ActionStation, the New Zealand Drug Foundation, Hāpai Te Hauora, the Needle Exchange and Te Rau Matatini. We’ll be doing more work together to ensure the government treats drug use as a health and not a criminal issue in the lead up to election 2020.