“The Government has dropped the ball when implementing the Psychoactive Substances Act,” says Rob McCann, Labour Candidate for Ōtaki, after a recent march was held to protest against legal highs.
Mr McCann says when Labour was in Government it initiated a Law Commission review of the Misuse of Drugs Act. After the change of Government, the Law Commission produced a comprehensive report recommending complete replacement of the Misuse of Drugs Act which is now completely outdated and unfit for the 21st Century.
“The National-led Government chose not to replace the Misuse of Drugs Act which is completely out of date. Instead it implemented just one chapter of the report – the Psychoactive Substances Act.
‘We’re seeing the pubic organising marches up and down the county as a result of a government that hasn’t done it’s homework, and once again, ignored the experts. We saw it with what should have been alcohol reform and we’re seeing it again with drugs. This Government can’t actually get the job done. Unfortunately for our community, we are the ones that will foot the bill as the Act has not been phased in with enough haste or adequately funded to be effective,” says Mr McCann.
“The government must urgently fund the Ministry of Health, so that the testing of products and monitoring of the implementation of the Act can take place properly. The health of our kids is not an issue that the government should put at risk for the sake of few dollars.
“The cure is not supposed to be worse than the illness. However, we must also not forget that the real drivers of drug and alcohol abuse: unemployment, poverty and lack of opportunity are not being addressed by this government,” says Mr McCann.