Topics: Health, Politics, Te Arawa

Addiction among Māori on the rise

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty
Meeting held in Te Pakira Marae, Whakarewarewa

Addiction practitioners are calling for more government support as the growing methamphetamine and alcohol epidemics reach unmanageable levels. 120 drug and rehab Māori practitioners met in Rotorua today to identify areas that need an urgent address.

NZ Drug Foundation Māori advisor says, “We need to grow this sector so we can better reposed to those Māori that are in need particular with those that are suffering from issues around methamphetamine and amphetamines but of course the addiction issues goes right across a whole range of other drug types as well.”

Many of the rehabilitation practitioners here say alcohol and P are the main threats for Māori but the response is limited.

Rehab and addiction worker Matatu Mihinui says, “Funding plays a huge part. There are only a small number of workers in our communities, our small towns, like Murupara and Kaikohe. There are limited resources for our workers.”

Mr. Taurua of the NZ Drug Foundation believes that Māori helping Māori is vital to reducing addiction. Another suggestion was for iwi to take part in creating drug policies.

“We know that throwing away the key for our Māori people putting them in prison doesn't resolve the issue.  Iwi Māori need to take some ownership need to be having that kōrero and I guess change the political systems in place to make sure that we better able to reposed to those issues,” says Taurua.

From this meeting, ideas will be shared within their networks to hopefully find solutions to strengthen their work. Tomorrow, the national Cutting Edge conference will be held in Rotorua.

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