You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

NZ chides UN over world's drug problem

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 19/04/2016

New Zealand has told the United Nations it must do more to tackle the world's drug problems.

The General Assembly is holding a special session to discuss ways to deal with dangerous drugs and Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne spoke for the government on Wednesday (NZT).

"Compared to the global narcotics industries, we are moving at a glacial pace," Mr Dunne said.

"I put it to those assembled here that globally we need to be bolder in our approach."

Mr Dunne said it was vital for the special session to deliver results.

He admitted New Zealand had been slow to deal with drugs once known as "legal highs" - the synthetic substances he brought under control with the Psychoactive Substances Act.

"Certainly in New Zealand we allowed an unregulated, under the radar, new psychoactive substances industry to steal a march before it was brought into a regulated system," he said.

He explained the Act reversed the onus of proof back on to the industry, because products couldn't be sold until they were proved to be low risk.

"Getting the balance right is critical," he said.

"There are a number of examples at the moment where reformist cannabis policy has simply outstripped the ability of robust regulation, a situation which ultimately damages the reform movement and increases potential for harm."

He said New Zealand's position was that if cannabis was used for medical purposes, it had to be subject to the same testing processes as any other therapeutic pharmaceuticals.

"Identifying the greatest therapeutic benefits and determining the most appropriate ratios, dosage and delivery mechanisms will only come through a robust, scientific approach," he said.

"Otherwise we are essentially flying blind and hoping for the best."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon