The Government's Mental Health & Addictions Inquiry is well underway, and submissions closed on 5 June.
We have a very clear idea about what we think needs to change, and our submission to the inquiry points out that New Zealand already knows the solutions. Many suggestions have been made over the years, and too much time and money has been spent on strategies which were never properly funded or implemented. We think it’s imperative that Government and agencies are held to account.
In this submission we propose urgent changes to the way New Zealand responds to addiction issues.
Two major barriers for seeking help are New Zealand’s outdated drug laws and the stigma attached to drug use. We have outlined solutions to dismantle these barriers. We also provide a detailed overview of the changes needed to address addictions from a health perspective.
Drug harm experts say funding for a nasal spray that reverses opioid overdoses is critical in the face of an increasingly toxic drug supply and the emergence of powerful synthetic opioids.
Survey participants also reported that barriers to accessing services, resources and information were high.
A group of powerful synthetic opioids that were first detected in the country just a year ago may have already been linked to several deaths.