A new approach to harm reduction:
He aronga hou mō te whakaiti pāmamae:
decolonise, depoliticise, destigmatise, mobilise
he purenga ihomatua, he purenga tōrangapū, he purenga taunu, he whakaoreore
People use a range of psychoactive substances, licit and illicit, for pleasure, socialising, therapeutic reasons and in response to trauma (e.g., childhood trauma). Illicit drugs are traded through an unregulated market, which inherently lacks quality or safety controls. Meanwhile the illicit drug market globally, and in New Zealand, is becoming more volatile in terms of the substances that people are using.
In the current environment, people who use drugs can experience a range of outcomes: from no harm at all, chronic harm from ongoing use, acute harm from an incident (such as overdose or an accident), problematic use, through to addiction.
The legal frameworks we have compound harms instead of alleviating them, and create an environment of secrecy and shame, which prevents people from being able to seek help. Criminal sanctions, or punishments from workplace, organisational or school policies, fail to deter use, and can exacerbate or add harms for people who use drugs, their whānau and communities.
We are caught in a political gridlock that is a by-product of stigma and misinformation of the ‘war of drugs’, and our own existing legislative framework. Breaking the gridlock will enable a range of improvements, although alone it is not enough to realise our vision.
Colonisation, racism, poverty, discrimination, homelessness, mental distress and disconnection further compound the harms of drug use for those impacted by them. These societal factors also underpin some of our historical drug policies in Aotearoa.
The New Zealand Drug Foundation is a catalyst for change, creating or partnering in ground-breaking interventions and policies that reduce harm and demonstrate the change we want to see. This strategy describes our new approach to harm reduction, through decolonisation, destigmatisation and depoliticisation.
An Aotearoa free from drug harm.
Kia purea a Aotearoa i te pāmamae nā te kai whakapiri.
To transform the way Aotearoa New Zealand addresses drug issues.
Kia panonihia te aronga o Aotearoa Niu Tireni mō ngā take kai whakapiri.
We influence this through our leadership, by supporting communities and inspiring action that promotes wellbeing, is mana enhancing and prevents drug harm.
Ka whakaaweawe mātou i tēnei mā tō mātou ārahitanga, mā te tautoko i ngā hapori, mā te whakaohooho hoki kia tokona ake ai te toiora, ka hāpaitia ai te mana, kia āraitia ai hoki te pāmamae o te kai whakapiri.
For over 30 years, we have remained true to the values expressed by our founding Trustees – Professor Sir John Scott, Dr Irihapeti Ramsden and Dr Eru Pomare – which include a commitment to science and evidence, fearless public health advocacy, and a responsibility to reflect the principles of partnership embodied in the Treaty of Waitangi.
Added to this is our commitment to health promotion approaches embodied in the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (1986) (and contemporary iterations of this) and Te Pae Māhutonga: A model for Māori Health Promotion (1999). The Foundation is also a signatory to the Māori Manifesto: A framework for change (2018).
During the life of this new statement of strategic direction our work will continue to be guided by the following values:
Kia mau mātou ki te hauora mana taurite o ngāi Māori, ki te whakatutuki hoki i ngā whāinga hauora o ngāi Māori
This is why we fearlessly advocate for system change and law reform that addresses health inequalities and inequity through the lens of social, cultural, economic and environmental determinants of health.
Kia waihanga urupare atawhai, mākoha hoki e hāngai pū ana ki te tangata hei whakaiti i te pāmamae kai whakapiri
This is why the way we work is centred on those who experience the most harm from drugs and drug laws and policy.
Kia tautoko i ngā hapori ki te waihanga whakautu mō rātou anō
This is why partnerships, collaboration and communities of practice are important to us.
Whakamanahia te taunakitanga hei tuku whakamōhiotanga mō ā mātou mahi, mō tā mātou mahi hapahapai hoki
This is why we draw heavily on the best evidence and practice in all we do, and work with researchers to translate knowledge into action.
He Purenga Ihomatua
We embrace Te Tiriti and work in partnership with Māori.
There is disproportionate harm for Māori, and underlying inequalities and limited access to support are an impact of colonisation. Therefore:
He Purenga Tōrangapū
We work to depoliticise the issues and bring about reform based on evidence and best practice, to bring in law changes that will benefit all communities, including people who use drugs.
For decades, there has been inaction on improving our drug laws, policies and interventions because drug policy is highly politicised. Therefore:
He Purenga Taunu
We work to enhance the mana of people who use drugs and support the development of our sector.
People who use drugs and/or experience addiction face stigma, discrimination, and prejudice, which is compounded by criminalisation of drug use. This in turn erodes the mana of the sector. Therefore, we will:
We gain additional territory by innovating and demonstrating new ways of working, pushing legal reform and then stepping into that newly gained space to start this process again.
To do this we will: