$5.1m allocated to more anti-drug initiativesPrime Minister
Prime Minister John Key has announced over $5 million worth of assets seized from criminals will be invested in anti-drug initiatives.
A total of 13 initiatives will receive a share of the $5.105 million made available in the latest round of funding under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act.
Details of the funding were announced today along with the release of the latest Indicators and Progress Report for the Government’s Methamphetamine Action Plan.
“The efforts undertaken by our law enforcement agencies and the health sector to address the scourge of methamphetamine have been immense and delivered real results,” Mr Key says.
Today’s report shows seizures of the drug almost tripled in the past year, with Customs and Police intercepting 293kg compared with 105kg the year before.
It also shows the average age of P users has increased, suggesting fewer young people are taking up the drug, while use rates remain below 1 per cent.
The availability of treatment and the number of associated convictions have also increased and the price of the drug remains high.
“As a result of the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act we are able to seize the proceeds of crime and use it against those responsible for it,” Mr Key says.
“The new funding will boost efforts to stop drugs at the border and clamp down on production and distribution in New Zealand, as well as broader drug and alcohol treatment and enforcement initiatives,” Mr Key says.
“It brings the total invested under the Act in anti-drug programmes to $17.2m since 2013.
The initiatives to be funded from the seized assets are:
- $1m for a package aimed at preventing, identifying and responding effectively to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
- $976,893 to purchase FirstDefender substance identification instruments to help Customs officials better detect drugs at the border.
- $880,000 to help police recover costs under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act.
- $721,000 for more police anti-cannabis surveillance flights.
- $483,604 for more staff and equipment at the Police Northern Electronic Crime Laboratory to provide forensic and mobile phone investigative support for organised crime and drug investigations.
- $300,000 to strengthen education, intelligence and enforcement around drugs in sport, with a focus on youth.
- $220,000 to allow for wastewater analysis to test for illicit drug use.
- $210,000 for the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Court to fund another coordinator for two years.
- $150,000 to develop screening and intervention services for young people with alcohol issues.
- $63,677 to develop a standard for the remediation of properties with methamphetamine-related contamination.
- $60,000 to support prosecutions relating to psychoactive substances.
- $40,000 for police to develop an app to screen and refer offenders with alcohol disorders and smoking addiction to health services.
“Prenatal exposure to alcohol is one of our leading preventable causes of birth defects and intellectual disability – part of the broader issue of drug and alcohol abuse in New Zealand – and this $1m will help us address that,” Mr Key says.
“Supporting these projects will also help with the Government’s wider efforts to combat methamphetamine.
“These efforts are working, making our communities safer and I have no doubt that, supported by the kinds of new initiatives we are backing today, that progress will continue.”
The report is available at www.dpmc.govt.nz/dpmc/publications/methamphetamine