Treatment funding petition delivered to PM

The Health Not Handcuffs team were excited to deliver our petition to the Prime Minister calling on her to double funding for drug-related treatment and harm reduction initiatives in Budget 2019.

Our huge thanks to the 1126 New Zealanders and the 16 health, social justice and Māori organisations who have supported the petition. Your voice has made a real difference.

The petition followed on from an open letter to the PM in December 2018, which called for a doubling of drug-related healthcare funding and the introduction of a health referral model to replace criminal sanctions for people who use drugs. That letter was supported by more than 30 organisations.

A significant increase in funding can’t come soon enough for New Zealanders struggling with drug use and the addictions treatment sector that support them.

We know that frontline organisations in the sector are stretched far beyond what they are resourced to do, and a staggering 50,000 people are need in of treatment that they aren’t currently receiving.

Many people want to access help, but find it’s just not available.

All eyes are now on the upcoming Government announcements and whether Budget 2019 will deliver on treating drug use as the health and social issue that it is.

This petition is just the first in many opportunities for New Zealanders to support the Health Not Handcuffs movement in our effort to change the country’s approach to drug use.

Keep an eye out for upcoming actions as we campaign to remove criminal penalties for drug use; double New Zealand’s yearly budget for drug-related healthcare and regulate the legal supply of cannabis, to improve public health.

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