Criminalising drug use stops people from seeking support, advice and treatment for fear of discrimination or prosecution. And when people are prosecuted, it can have a serious impact on gaining employment, being able to rent a house, and being able to travel. All of this can compound, snowball and cause serious life-long harm.
At the same time, criminalising drug use doesn't reduce use or harm.
Aotearoa needs a more compassionate, health-based approach to drugs.
In July 2017, the Drug Foundation released Whakawātea te Huarahi, a bold roadmap for drug law reform in Aotearoa New Zealand. The model drug law is based on evidence and research from New Zealand and around the world about the best way to reduce drug harm.
‘Whakawātea’ means to clear, free up, cleanse or purify spiritually, while ‘huarahi’ is a pathway, road or track. The title of our model drug law is intended to signify a fresh start for the debate on drug policy and a sense of movement towards a better future.
These goals can be achieved by: