Q&As – National Drug Policy (NDP)

Q&As – National Drug Policy (NDP)
Introduction to the NDP and reason for refresh
What is the NDP?
The National Drug Policy (NDP) is New Zealand's policy framework for coordinated and
consistent action by government and the sector in relation to alcohol, tobacco, illegal
and other drugs.
The policy focuses efforts on priority areas in order to maximise impact and minimise
drug-related harm. The NDP uses a 3 pillar framework – supply control, demand
reduction and problem limitation.
Why is the government refreshing the NDP?
The most recent policy expired in 2012. It needs refreshing to respond to the latest
evidence and trends, and to set a pathway over the next few years to achieve desired
What does the 3 pillar framework mean?
The NDP works to an overarching aim of minimising drug-related harm. In order to
achieve this aim, the NDP targets three areas:
Supply control: to prevent or reduce harm by restricting or regulating the
availability of alcohol, tobacco, illicit and other drugs, such as through border
control, domestic enforcement and trading hours.
Demand reduction: a wide range of activities to reduce an individual’s desire to
use alcohol, tobacco, illegal and other drugs. These include health promotion,
social marketing, and community action.
Problem limitation: to reduce harm from alcohol, tobacco, illegal and other drug
use that is already occurring, such as through treatment interventions.
The three pillar framework approach is also used in Australia, the United Kingdom, and
many European countries. Together these pillars provide a way of thinking about the
range of interventions that are required.
Why is the government keeping the 3 pillar framework?
The three pillars framework is aligned with what other countries do and is fit for purpose
to reduce drug-related harm in New Zealand. It ensures we take a multifaceted
approach to reduce drug-related harm
Why is the government expanding its view of harm?
This change in focus formalises how the Government is approaching complex social
policy problems.
Traditionally, the NDP mostly focused on minimising harm to the users of alcohol and
drugs, by controlling drug supply, dissuading use and providing users with access to
However, families, communities and society are also impacted by these substances and
the children of drug users are at greater risk of growing up to become drug users
themselves. Breaking this intergenerational cycle requires a whole-of-system response,
including an emphasis on how whānau, communities and settings such as schools can
be supported to minimise drug-related harm.
What might a wider view of harm look like in practice?
We are still thinking about what the opportunities are in taking a wider view of harm and
our view on this will be informed by the themes raised in public submissions. Some
examples of what a wider approach to harm minimisation might look like in practice
accommodating a shift in service delivery for alcohol and drug treatment from a
focus on the individual to one that captures and intervenes earlier for children
affected by a family members’ alcohol and drug misuse. This will do more to
prevent children developing their own addictions and will reduce other impacts
of substance misuse in the family.
investing in vulnerable children and youth by leveraging off successful
government, community and school-based programmes such as DHB-led
Children of Parents who have Mental Health and Addictions (COPMIA) services,
the Social Sector Trials and the Waikato-based Project Energise to keep kids
safe and help them make good choices.
building and supporting resilient whānau and community settings to deliver
change. For example, this is already happening with the Police’s Prevention
First strategy where staff are encouraged to look beyond single issues and
leverage off community services and networks.
partnering with the Ministry of Education and Boards of Trustees to help
minimise the incident and impact of drug-taking by youths, with the aim of
keeping them in school longer and contributing to the Better Public Services
educational achievement target.
What government agencies are involved in the NDP?
Drug policy cuts across a wide range of government portfolios and interests. While the
Ministry of Health is leading the development of the Policy, collaboration, leadership and
alignment across agencies, as well as outside government, is required to achieve
results. Reducing the impact of drugs will also support the achievement of other
government goals such as the reduction in welfare dependency and improving
educational achievement better public services targets. The Policy will help ensure
For example:
Supply control responses include classification and regulation by the Ministries
of Health and Justice and detection and enforcement by New Zealand Police
and Customs.
Demand reduction responses include building resilient families and communities
through support services and providers run or funded by the Ministries of Social
Development, Justice and Health; media campaigns and school curricula to
promote healthy choices through the Health Promotion Agency and the Ministry
of Education.
Problem limitation responses include funding of treatment services for addiction
through Vote Health and responding to unlawful behaviour through detection,
sentencing, detention and rehabilitation action by the criminal justice sector.
Additionally, the central agencies (Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the
Treasury and the State Services Commission) have an overarching interest in the
effectiveness and efficiency of government action and spending.
Where do the not-for-profit sector and service providers fit?
The not-for-profit sector and service providers play vital roles in minimising drug-related
harm. These organisations work with individuals, families and communities that are
affected by drugs and are often embedded within the communities they serve. Their
services are also often partly or wholly taxpayer-funded. It is accordingly important that
government agencies, the not-for-profit sector and service providers work in partnership.
The NDP will look at priorities and approaches to best minimise drug-related harm
regardless of who will carry out the work and where the levers lie.
The Government has a responsibility to hear and learn from the experiences and
wisdom of these organisations through this consultation and ongoing engagement. The
resulting Policy and action plans will seek to build a shared vision and language (where
appropriate) for minimising harm where all actors can see the role they play.
Content for refresh
What is being consulted on?
The purpose of consultation is to determine what outcomes we need, where priorities for
action should lie, and how to measure success, so they can be incorporated into the
new NDP. Your responses will help shape a draft Policy.
Will existing programmes under the NDP be stopped?
Refreshing the NDP won’t result in duplicating or sacrificing programs that are working
well. Tobacco for example already has a clear strategy and a defined action plan.
Smoking cessation is a government priority area and has well developed actions for the
next 5 years. There is a clear strategic vision for New Zealand to be smoke-free by
Are you changing the law?
The NDP will set out how the Government will approach drug policy and where the focus
should lie. It will not change the law – this means that things with a legal basis like the
offences and penalties for drugs like cannabis are off the table. The NDP will, however,
provide a framework for reviewing whether existing legislation is achieving the outcomes
we want and determine whether changes are necessary.
What will be different about the new Policy?
Building on the feedback received from submissions and stakeholder workshops, the
new Policy will:
1. Address the impact of drug use on others, consistent with the Government’s key
outcomes to reduce crime, support vulnerable children, and boost employment.
2. Involve a wide range of agencies – beyond the Justice sector – including MSD and
3. Specify measurable outcomes that will guide the development of action plans.
These may be substance-specific, similar to Tackling Methamphetamine: An Action
Plan, or population-specific, such as focussing on youth.
4. Trial innovative ways of delivering services to ensure the right people get the right
support at the right time.
What will success look like?
The previous NDP did not specify a clear future state for New Zealand with supporting
targets and measures to help define, measure and evaluate success. We want to build
outcomes, actions, indicators and measures into the new policy and supporting action
plans so that we are able to track our progress and understand what is and isn’t working.
Process for refresh
What is the process for submitting?
You can share your views by emailing ndp_discussion@moh.govt.nz or posting your
feedback to us at the following address:
NDP Discussion
Sector and Services Policy
Policy Business Unit
Ministry of Health
PO Box 5013
Wellington 6145
The discussion document can be downloaded from the Ministry’s website www. If you
don’t have access to a printer and would like a printed copy, please request a copy
using the email address below.
Public consultation on the discussion document is open for public submission from 16
December to 28 February 2014.
How are key stakeholders being involved?
Key stakeholders have been engaged in the development of the discussion document
and will continue to be involved as the Policy is developed. The Ministry of Health held
workshops with key stakeholders and senior officials from across government between
June and October to inform the discussion document and new NDP.
What are the next steps?
Following the closing of public consultation, the Ministry of Health will analyse
submissions together with the findings of the key stakeholder workshops and report to
government with recommendations for the new Policy.
A summary of submissions will be made available on the Ministry’s website in the first
quarter of 2014 and it is expected that a draft policy will be considered by Ministers in
June 2014.
Will you be consulting on a draft policy?
We have chosen to consult before a draft policy is written, because we want to use your
experience to shape the policy from the outset. We will not be consulting widely on a
draft policy, but will continue to engage with key stakeholders as the draft policy is
developed for government consideration.
When the discussion period finishes we will analyse everyone’s feedback and provide it
to Government with recommendations for the new policy.