Massey High School provided the pamphlet to Year 13 students as part of their level 3 health course.
The pamphlet, the content of which can also be found on the website drughelp.org.nz, provides 10 "keeping well" tips for using methamphetamine, including: “When taking meth eat something every 4 to 5 hours, drink more water than normal” and “you can’t sleep on meth; if you want to sleep later don’t use it after 3pm”.
It also included details about how to clean drug paraphernalia and how much of the drug could be kept for personal use: “Be discreet and only keep less than 5 grams for personal use.”
A concerned mother, Morgan Julian, posted images of the pamphlet on social media and complained to the school about its approach.
Julian told website stuff.co.nz that the pamphlet was “disturbing”.
“I am all for drug education and keeping our children aware but to blatantly publish a step-by-step guide on how to clean your pipes, swallow instead of injecting and to do it legally, in a way is disturbing.”
Felicity Anderson, communications advisor to Massey High School, said the school had no regrets about using the resource, which was one of more than 30 items and was not handed out to students.
“If a student chose it, the context was explained,” she said.
She added that over the past four years of teaching the class, only one complaint had been received.
In a statement, the school said it “does not condone illegal drug use, drugs on the school campus, nor does it teach its pupils how to use drug instruments”.
The statement said the material was part of a larger booklet and had been taken out of context; it could be found online, and was part of a NZ Drug Foundation program that is fully funded by the Ministry of Health.
The school said that the level 3 health course asks students to analyse a New Zealand health issue, which in this case was methamphetamine use by 15-24 year olds, focusing on the negative impacts that drug use has on individuals, relationships and society.
“The course has been run by the PE and Health Department at the school for the past few years, given the topical nature of the health issue,” the statement continued.
“When taken in context of the rest of the booklet (which is aimed at current users who are looking at ways to stop) the dangers of using methamphetamine are apparent.
“It is one resource which aims to provide context for students around an issue which negatively impacts far too many young people in New Zealand.”
Julian has removed her Facebook post following a discussion with Massey High School.
In a statement, the NZ Drug Foundation said criticism of Massey was “misplaced”.
“Schools play a vital role in helping young people navigate many significant life choices," the statement read.
“It is a responsible thing for schools to provide opportunities for students to learn in structured ways about drugs.”
The Foundation also welcomed the debate on the appropriateness of the resources being used in classrooms.
“As an organisation, we are very open to talking about why we do things the way we do, and most importantly, how we can work together to ensure an Aotearoa free from drug harm,” the statement continued.
DRUG AND ALCOHOL ADVICE
If you or someone you know is experiencing a drug problem, you can contact:
The Alcohol Drug Helpline on 0800 787 797, its website, or free txt adh to 234.
The Mental Health Foundation 09 623 4812
Lifeline 0800 543 354
Depression Helpline 0800 111 757
Suicide Crisis Helpline 0508 828 865