Drug testing a tool not the sole solution
Educating young people about the harmful and lifelong effects of drug taking must be reinforced at home and in our
schools, says Labour’s Education Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta.
Recent reports from the Waikato region have shown there is some support for stronger action being taken in secondary
schools to curb the negative consequences of drugs being more accessible.
Ministry of Education statistics show there were 186 stand-downs for drug offences and 107 suspensions from 22 November
2010 to 22 November 2011, said Nanaia Mahuta.
“These statistics reflect a certain reality for the Waikato region but drug use is clearly a wider problem that is not
limited to any one region or school.
“Calls for random drug testing should be carefully considered alongside other tools to eliminate the prevalence of drugs
in New Zealand schools.
“The Government must listen to the concerns of parents, teachers and the community and rise to the challenge in terms of
confronting the drug use issue. In today’s modern economy, lifelong learning and skill acquisition is essential and
being drug-free is vital for young people looking for a job.
“Compulsory random drug testing is one tool that should sit alongside drug education, peer mentoring initiatives and
parenting support. These types of responses should be monitored by the Ministry of Education and be implemented in both
private and public secondary schools.
“There is no doubt that some schools want to take stronger action and the Government should show greater leadership,
coordination and investment to tackle drugs in our schools.”