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Greens launch Drug Education Budget Bid

Youth Affairs Minister Laila Harré and Green Party Youth Affairs spokesperson, Nandor Tanczos today announced Budget funding for a programme to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of drug education in schools.

The Green Party proposal which was agreed by the Government allocates $450,000 over three years for the establishment of a Ministerial Advisory Group on Drug Education.

The group will be appointed by the Minister of Youth Affairs and will develop and implement measures for evaluating drug education programmes so as to improve delivery of drug education messages to young people.

"We want to make sure that the money spent on drug education programmes delivers results," said Laila Harré to a meeting of the Auckland City Youth Council.

"We can't expect young people to make sensible decisions about their lives if we are not giving them the best possible information. Laws are important, but in the end it is individuals who make decisions and they need good training to make good decisions"

"This initiative will provide an opportunity to assess what works and what doesn't and to develop criteria for future funding of drug education programmes.

"Some communities and organisations have already made a significant contribution to the reduction of drug related harm. Its important that we support these communities and organisations and that we also provide them with evidence based suggestions for how their programmes could be improved," Laila Harré said.

Green MP Nandor Tanczos said he was pleased the Government had agreed to the Green proposal.

"Most people agree that we don't want drugs in schools and we want to discourage drug abuse generally. This initiative will identify ways to effectively do that.

"We need to put more resources into health promotion and drug education. It is vital therefore that we identify what works and what does not," he said.

"This Budget initiative is the first step towards putting in place properly evaluated, evidence-based, credible and effective drug education strategies in our schools and communities.

"One of the major criticisms is that most programs are monocultural. The Advisory Group will specifically look at provision for Maori as well as Pasifikan people and ethnic and migrant groups," said Nandor.

The Ministerial Advisory Group will be supported by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and will report to the Minister of Youth Affairs.

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