INDEPENDENT NEWS

Mental health report recommends re-think on drug charges

Published: Tue 4 Dec 2018 12:28 PM
Chris Bramwell, Deputy Political Editor
The Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction is recommending the government set up a Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission, take strong action on alcohol and other drugs and set a target to reduce suicide rates.
Health Minister David Clark. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King
The panel, led by the former health watchdog Ron Paterson, spent roughly 10 months consulting people around the country, holding more than 400 meetings and considering about 5000 submissions.
It delivered a 200-page report and 40 recommendations to Health Minister David Clark who has released it today.
The recommendations include taking strong action on drugs by enacting a stricter regulatory approach to the sale and supply of alcohol and replacing criminal sanctions for the possession for personal use of controlled drugs, with civil responses.
It also calls for the government to urgently complete and implement a national suicide prevention strategy, with a target of a 20 percent reduction in suicide rates by 2030.
The inquiry's report says the Mental Health Act is out of date and inconsistent with New Zealand's international treaty obligations, saying it should be repealed and replaced with law that reflects a human rights approach and minimises compulsory or coercive treatment.
It also suggests the establishment of new Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission to act as a watchdog and provide leadership and oversight of mental health and wellbeing in New Zealand.
It says there has been a general lack of confidence in leadership of the mental health and addiction sector over many years, since disestablishment of the original Mental Health Commission, and new Commission is needed to provide system leadership and act as the institutional mechanism to hold decisionmakers and successive governments to account.
Dr Clark said the government would consider the recommendations carefully.
"The Inquiry panel has delivered a set of strong and coherent recommendations covering everything from the social determinants of health and wellbeing, to expanding access to treatment services and taking strong action on alcohol and drugs.
"We are working our way through the 40 recommendations and will formally respond in March.
"I want to be upfront with the public, however, that many of the issues we're facing, such as workforce shortages, will take years to fix."
RNZ
New Zealand's public broadcaster, providing comprehensive NZ news and current affairs, specialist audio features and documentaries.
Radio New Zealand is a Crown entity established under the Radio New Zealand Act 1995. Radio New Zealand News are vital elements in our programming, providing impartial news and information to New Zealanders every day. Radio New Zealand (RNZ) provides listeners with exciting and independent radio programmes in accordance with the Radio New Zealand Charter.

Next in Comment

Gordon Campbell on America’s ‘Green New Deal’
By: Gordon Campbell
Gordon Campbell on the Nelson fire and climate change
By: Gordon Campbell
Gordon Campbell on listening to Ocasio-Cortez about tax
By: Gordon Campbell
Gordon Campbell on the US exit from Afghanistan
By: Gordon Campbell
Gordon Campbell on our history of selling out the Kurds
By: Gordon Campbell
UPDATE: Nelson fires
By: New Zealand Police
Nelson fires update – conditional re-entry for Golden Hills
By: New Zealand Police
UPDATE: Nelson fires – Conditional re-entry for Residents
By: New Zealand Police
Tasman fires - two believed deliberately lit
By: New Zealand Police
Friday morning update from Police - Nelson fires
By: New Zealand Police
Pigeon Valley residents asked to leave their homes
By: New Zealand Police
PM's Post-Cabinet Press Conference 11/2/19: Fires Response
By: The Scoop Team
MSD support for those affected by Nelson Tasman fires
By: New Zealand Government
Refund RUC charges on Nelson Fires Hay Convoy
By: New Zealand National Party
Business support fund sought for the Nelson fires
By: New Zealand National Party
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILEWe're in BETA! Send Feedback © Scoop Media