The free methamphetamine harm reduction programme, Te Ara Oranga, has been rolled out to the eastern Bay of Plenty, with services now available in Murupara.
“We’re building a whole new mental health system, and that includes expanding successful programmes like Te Ara Oranga,” Health Minister, Andrew Little said today.
“Demand for addiction treatment services has grown steadily over the past decade, and we need to do more to support people and communities struggling with drugs to get the wrap around support they need.”
Te Ara Oranga is a unique partnership between police, mental health and addiction services, community groups, and iwi service providers. It gives methamphetamine users the opportunity to get culturally-appropriate therapeutic help with an approach specially tailored for the local community.
“It has been shown to reduce drug-related harm and support better community health, improved social wellbeing including re-engagement with whānau and employment, and better justice outcomes including reduced family violence and crime,” the Minister said.
“Te Ara Oranga was successfully piloted in Northland and has been acknowledged as a game-changer in the fight against methamphetamine and drug-related crime.”
He said more than 3,000 Northland people and their whānau had been helped since the programme started.
“For every dollar spent on the programme there has been a return of between $3 and $7.”
“It’s an example of a community-wide and led programme that works and changes lives and we want more New Zealanders to benefit from it,” Mr Little said.
The eastern Bay of Plenty region has been identified as a community experiencing a high level of drug-related harm. It has higher than average methamphetamine use/possession related offences, wastewater testing results, and proportion of people seeking help to get on top of drug addictions, the Minister said.
“This government is committed to a health-based response for those who experience drug addiction. Making the benefits of Te Ara Oranga available to in the eastern Bay of Plenty is part of that.”
In addition to launching services in Murupara, $3.5 million of funding from Budget 2022 will enable Te Ara Oranga to expand and cover a geographical area from Whakatāne to Rotorua, and include Ōpōtiki, Kawerau, and Murupara, Mr Little said.
Budget 2022 included a $100-million investment for a specialist mental health and addiction package.