Massey High School principal defends pamphlet on meth use

The AM Show 03/05/2018

The principal of Massey High School says we'd be ignorant not to educate children on meth use, after a pamphlet outlining how to use it safely was given to students.

But the director of drug education group MethCon says suggesting there's a safe way to use the drug is ridiculous, comparing it to "telling someone who has shot someone to wipe their prints off the gun".

The pamphlet, published by drugfree.org, suggested keeping less than five grams of meth for personal use to avoid being prosecuted, and advised that swallowing meth is safer than injecting it. It also provided tips about eating regularly and keeping hydrated while under the influence of meth.

Ignorance resides under the carpet and behind doors.

The pamphlet was given to year 13 students as part of a larger document.

"It's two pages out of 25," principal Glen Denham told the AM Show on Thursday.

"Ignorance resides under the carpet and behind doors.

"The other [pages] talk about how insidious it is, how damaging it is to families. [The kids] very smart and they're very savvy. They review all the information they've got and they come up with some solutions."

The pamphlet was given to year 13 students as part of a larger document.

But managing director of MethCon Dale Kirk has slammed the New Zealand Drug Foundation for distributing the pamphlets in the first place.

"As a parent or a taxpayer, are you happy that your taxpayer money is being used to fund this material? I know I'm not. And certainly as a parent I'm not either.

"Methamphetamine... it's a completely different monster. It's by far the most addictive drug and you can't use the drug safely.

"That's the equivalent of telling someone who has shot someone to wipe their prints off the gun."

NZ Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell told The AM Show the context of the information, which they distributed, was lost when the story broke on Wednesday.

"This wasn't part of a drug education class. It was part of a critical evaluation of a health issue confronting New Zealand. I think in terms of getting students to think critically this is perfect information for them.

"We do have to understand the society that these students are going to go into when they leave school. We're talking about 17 and 18-year-olds in this class. So I think it's also correct that the students are given really practical information about the risks from meth and ways to stay safe."

The pamphlet was not originally produced as a teaching resource for schools. Twenty-thousand copies of the pamphlet were distributed around drug centres and given to police and community groups.

"I'm not going to apologise for providing that kind of health and safety information to people who are currently using meth," Mr Bell says.

Mr Denham says he'd use the information again as a teaching resource.

Watch the full interview with Glen Denham above.

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