I have seen the damaging effects of pushing drug users down the criminal justice path both personally and professionally. We have seen the positive impact around the world when we take our whānau who use drugs, connect them with their community, help them address their substance use and the underlying issues and support them rather than penalize them. The statistics show that crime rates in those communities drop and more people gain access to services due to the redirection of funds.
I am an advocate for more treatment, more harm reduction services and reconnecting our whānau rather than locking them away where the issues just increase as do their problems upon release. For over a 100 yrs we’ve been doing the same thing and it doesn’t work. The time to change is now! It’s time to sing songs of love to our whānau rather than songs of misunderstanding and disconnection. They are us too xoxo