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    Methamphetamine contamination of housing has been discussed as a significant issue in New Zealand. However, scientific evidence to determine a threshold level at which health harms occur is inconclusive, resulting in conflicting and changing guidance. The initial strong precautionary policy, with significant unintended impacts on vulnerable public housing tenants, dramatically changed following a scientific review. This study explores the policy response to residential methamphetamine contamination in New Zealand over the past decade. Thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with 13 key stakeholders involved in policy development/implementation, including those from government, industry, residential housing and academic sectors. Consistent application of a methamphetamine contamination threshold for housing has been problematic due to legislative and regulatory gaps. Stakeholders in the residential sector have been influenced by perceptions of methamphetamine contamination as a health risk, political views on drug use, media coverage and the testing industry's business practices. Public housing tenants have faced disadvantages when resolving methamphetamine contamination disputes. The testing industry's participation in committees shaping the regulatory response presents a possible conflict of interest. Wide media coverage heightened public anxiety about the problem but may also have stimulated policy changes to alleviate unintended consequences of the precautionary approach. New Zealand's fragmented policy response to residential methamphetamine contamination is likely rooted in the lack of scientific evidence, with some key actors further exacerbating the response. Future policy development should seek to produce overarching regulation that guides the whole sector while balancing powers of the stakeholders involved. © 2022 The Authors. Drug and Alcohol Review published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs.


    Claudia Denisse Sanchez Lozano, Chris Wilkins, Marta Rychert. Lessons from the implementation of residential methamphetamine contamination policies in New Zealand. Drug and alcohol review. 2023 Mar;42(3):527-537

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    PMID: 36571766

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