The Government’s approach to minimising harm from alcohol and other drug use is set out in the National Drug Policy.
National Drug Policy
In New Zealand the National Drug Policy is the guiding document for policy and practices aimed at preventing and reducing alcohol and other drug-related harm in the community.
The current National Drug Policy 2015-2020 was released in August 2015.
The National Drug Policy's key goal is to minimise harm from alcohol and drug use, and promote and protect health and wellbeing. It does this through a balance of measures that:
- reduce harm that is already occurring (problem limitation).
- reduce the desire to use alcohol and other drugs (demand reduction)
- prevent or reduce the availability of alcohol and other drugs (supply control)
Drug policy is a complex area that requires input and participation from a wide range of government and non-government agencies, including the Ministry of Health. The National Drug Policy 2015-2020 has a focus on collaboration and emphasises that everyone can have a role in reducing harm from alcohol and other drugs.
Rising to the Challenge
Rising to the Challenge is the Government’s service development plan for mental health and addiction services from 2012-2017.
The aim is to ensure that New Zealanders have access to quality mental health and addiction services. It includes 100 actions, which will be delivered by the Ministry of Health, district health boards and mental health and addiction service providers.
Two committees meet to monitor, review and advice on drug policy and related issues: the Inter-Agency Committee on Drugs (IACD), and the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD).
Medsafe are responsible for the regulation of medicines and medical devices in New Zealand, and ensure that medicines and medical devices are acceptably safe.
Data sheets on the Medsafe website list every drug approved for use, along with information about clinical trials, risks and who the New Zealand distributor is (useful for establishing how much of the drug is used in New Zealand). There are also recall notices and warnings on drugs available for use in New Zealand.