Launch of resource kit in campaign against P

  • Jim Anderton


Tony Gill of the New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT); Denis O'Reilly and Harry Tam of Community Advocacy & Research Trust (CART) and Mane Adams of Mokai Whanau Ora (CAYAD Project) and Jed Thian from Firm FM

Thank you Tony, and the representatives of the New Zealand Community Trust, for taking the time to come in today.

Thanks also to the members of the Consultancy Advocacy and Research Trust for bringing us together to mark the production of the Phight CD-ROM resource kit as the second phase of a community education campaign designed to raise awareness about the harm caused by methamphetamine use.

It is great to see communities organise and collaborate to build community resilience against the impact of a drug like methamphetamine.

I congratulate the New Zealand Community Trust as a philanthropic funder, CART as community activists and Firm FM as youth radio broadcasters for your useful partnership.

Firm FM is a central city dance music station with a strong following in the Wellington city youth scene. It is an authentic and credible voice and it makes a valuable contribution to the campaign against methamphetamine.

CART, as you know, was established in the late 1980s to provide practical services and support to vulnerable members of society aimed at helping them get back into participating in society.

We know from research that drug problems are most serious in those communities where social exclusion is acute, and where people lack the will or the resources to control or manage drug problems.

Practical effort in the community forms an essential component in the government's multifaceted approach to combating the threat that drug use and alcohol abuse poses to our society.

I've now been the Minister responsible for chairing the Labour Progressive government's anti-drugs strategy for two years.

The strategy works at a number of levels. Each component of the strategy fits like a jigsaw with the others.

The overall success of the strategy requires progress on all fronts.

At one level, the Labour Progressive government is aiming to reduce the supply of methamphetamine by toughening up the penalties on the peddlers of this substance and its precursors.

This involves progressing legislation and updating regulations, and putting the resources and manpower into capturing the importers and distributors.

In recent months we've seen the benefits of our efforts, with record hauls of dangerous drugs at our borders and new laws and regulations that make peddlers pay a high price for all the damage and hurt they are causing.

At another level, we are increasing treatment services to reduce the harm that drugs cause.

And at a third level we have seeded a campaign aimed at reducing the demand for drugs, such as the community work being undertaken by community based projects (CAYADS) up and down the country.

Unlike the drug hauls at our ports, the type of work these projects undertake day after day in our communities isn't likely to hit the Six O'clock television news.

But just capturing the importer gangs, without the complementary practical educational work done by community organisations wouldn't work either.

We as a society faces a serious challenge from the pollution of drugs and any one part of the government's overall strategy in isolation just won't deliver the goods.

If we just had a demand-reduction strategy, without also getting tough on supply, it wouldn't work because it would lack the steel required to get the message across.

The fact that the supply-reduction work of Customs and the Police are catching people, and the fact that penalties are heavy, provides a strong incentive to change behaviour.

But this supply-reduction work needs to be supplemented with the important work on the ground supporting people to find a positive way out and in reinforcing their will to change their lifestyle and behaviours for good.

We all know about the link between substance abuse and gambling problems among some of the most vulnerable members of our society.

And as a gaming-machine proceeds distribution trust, you at the New Zealand Community Trust play a vital role in our whole community's effort to turn the tide around against alcohol abuse and drugs misuse.

I understand that NZCT provided funding of $29,000 to set up and run the Phight Web site for a year and to produce a CD-ROM resource kit as part of a community-oriented campaign to combat methamphetamine use.

The site and CD-ROM provide practical information about P, about how to better spot users of P, about what to do to help people with drug problems and, very importantly, where to go for help.

The resource kit includes youth marketing devices such as electronic post cards (e-cards) and posters that can be downloaded and customized for local use. The web site is updated regularly.

The messages and images are specifically aimed at young people, especially hard to reach young people.

The campaign goes under the name of "Phight" and it is being promoted by Firm FM, as well as by the national CAYAD network.

The people in the field report that they find these resources a valuable tool to help them to get out the life-saving message to reduce the demand for drugs and I congratulate all of you for helping making this good work in the community possible.