Mike Hosking: Stupid, naive drug move bungle of year

Author
Mike Hosking,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Thursday, 20 December 2018, 5:45a.m.
Personal drug use is now a health issue not a crime issue.
Personal drug use is now a health issue not a crime issue.

COMMENT:

Were we asleep or does no one care?

The headline the Government wanted you to hear was the one about cracking down on peddlers and producers of drugs.

Stuart Nash and David Clark, with their best earnest faces on, talked of the scourge of drugs and how they were coming after the bad guys.

All of which is laudable if not overdue.

But missed by most, and if not missed, certainly not reacted to in the way it should have been, was the astonishing abdication of responsibility when it came to personal use of drugs.

In a nutshell, they've shown their hand as being soft on drugs and passed responsibility off to the police.

It is now a health issue not a crime issue.

The level of stupidity and naivety in that is gob smacking.

Not for those like the Greens who have been pro drugs forever, but perhaps a little bit for the Labour Party who must at least have a few members who are parents, and/or socially responsible people who have seen the damage drugs do.

As for New Zealand First, having for a decent chunk of the year been the mature ballast for the collab that is this government , what the hell they were thinking defies any logic.

This move so lacks any sort of common sense it's hard to know where to start.

So how about the irony.

Julie Anne Genter set her road toll target at zero, (yes I know it's hopelessly naïve), but just how much have we spent on drunk driving issues, drug driving issues.

Just how much have we spent on trying to be smoke free by 2025.

How much have we spent trying to get people to stop boozing, or advertising boozing, or hitting family members as a result of boozing.

We live in an age, where there are whole industries in health prevention based on our inability to control ourselves around certain activities.

Yet against that backdrop we go soft on drugs.

As long as it's for personal use, you are good to go.

Have they thought about the cost of just leaving people to it?

The services we don't have, the experts we have never hired.

If you treat this as a health issue, you've actually got to have health services ready to pick up the pieces, and of course we don't.

We want to tax sugar because we can't control ourselves around it ... but cocaine is fine.

We spent lord knows how much time and money on diet-related issues, diabetes treatments, exercise programmes, fat intake, advertising restrictions, marketing bans, but ecstasy is fine.

We campaign endlessly against the opening of more local liquor shops, we restrict hours and ages, but dope is no problem.

Why aren't all these issues just "health issues", why are we bothered? After all, they're all for personal use too.

Why is being morbidly obese any more or less worrisome than having your brain fried by cannabis?

If we're happy to have kids turned into zombies from a bit much dope, why on earth do we complain about the cost of diabetes treatment, or fat kids, or liver cancer.

Has making drugs a criminal activity worked? No, not overtly successfully, which of course is the government's argument.

But it's no less successful than domestic violence or dangerous driving, are we making those health issues as well?

Part of a government's role is a top down approach to behaviour expectation, agendas, outlooks, aspirations, and intent for the entire country.

If it looks loose at the top, it fast becomes a slippery slope.

A society's success is based at least in part by what is not tolerated, what is not acceptable.

If a team, a community, a society, is only as strong as its weakest link, then setting the drug standard at the level this government has, opens us up to a social, moral, health and behavioural calamity.

One that you would've hoped those running this place had the wherewithal to realise ... before they made what has easily become their biggest mistake of the year.

Kerre McIvor Mornings

Kerre McIvor Mornings

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