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This research question requires you to read the provided case study on New Zealand’s National Drug Policy (2007-2012).
- Analyse and assess the strengths and weaknesses of this policy
- In your analysis, you are to consider the following guided questions:
- What is the present policy?
-the present policy talks about the National Drug Policy 2007-2012. This policy discusses how the government implements methods and strategies in the control of alcohol, tobacco and drug use in a unanimous structure thru the New Zealand context.
- How, when, and why did the policy come into being?
-According to the Methodology Report for the year 2007/08 New Zealand Alcohol and Drug Use Survey, an integrated programme of household surveys and group studies has been conducted by the Health and Disability Intelligence of the Ministry of Health. Thus, this is where the formulation of the policy has been based. This survey has also been considered a sequel of the previous ones dated years 1995, 2000 and 2004 for alcohol and drug use in the years 1998, 2001, and 2003. Furthermore, aside from the fact that the survey was the foundation for the latest national policy, it also answered the stipulated objectives which include the identification of alcohol, illicit and drug use for frivolous reasons in New Zealand; quantity and frequency of use; frequency of risky driving; type of harm for self-brought by alcohol and drug use and risk and self-seeking behaviour to combat its over usage. (Bhattacharya A., Health and Disability Intelligence, Ministry of Health 2010).
- What influenced policy -makers to adopt a particular course of action, what were the objectives of the policy?
The result of the survey conducted by the assigned sectors from the Ministry of Health motivated policy-makers to frame actions in combatting the use of these substances. Among the objectives are for:
– the prevention of tobacco, alcohol and illegal drug use.
– the reduction of harm caused by tobacco, alcohol and illegal drug use as well as its exposure to second-hand smoking
– the reduction of harm towards individuals, families and community due to the consumption of the mentioned elements.
– the significant others and society to be prevented and remain secure by monitoring the illegitimacy of its use.
- Who are the policy-makers? Which, if any, interest groups do they represent?
These policy-makers are people working from the Ministry of Health specifically those assigned in the Health and Disability Intelligence. Lawmakers of linkages from the central and local government agencies and non-government organizations also contributed in the making of these guidelines to be in a success. To date, these are amended from time to time by these individuals to solve issues concerning the misuse of alcohol, drugs and tobacco in this country.
- What have been the stages and methods, including organizational arrangements and structures, used in the policy-making process?
- The National Drug Policy has two parts. The first part includes the guidelines as a whole context. This includes the strategies, methods and all organizational involvements and edifices utilized during the course of making the policy. The next part talks about the flow and approach of policy in the next five years.
- What interested groups, if any, have been consulted and what sources and kinds of advice have been obtained?
- As mentioned in the policy, sectors that are affected from the central and local government agencies as well as those from non-government organizations are involved in the implementation of the strategies. Moreover, since New Zealand belongs to the three United Nations Conventions namely Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961, Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971 and Convention against the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Substances 1998, information that is provided under the policy has been derived from these sources. In similar fashion, data gathered from these conventions guide the making of the policy in terms of implementing control measures to ensure the use of narcotic drugs and other addictive substances for medical and scientific purposes without over using it. Drug trafficking prevention measures has also helped the makers of the policy in formulating their methods for this matter.
- Is the process of policy-making that has been adopted the best we can hope for? How might it be improved?
- In my subjective opinion, reading to thru the National Drug Policy, it has provided a detailed framework on how to approach the concerns of alcohol, illegal drugs and alcohol use of New Zealand. Indeed it is a good policy yet I cannot say that this is the best policy that we can hope for since in general, things change and everything in the world is drastic. This includes the way human beings deal with these substances. For it to be improved, I believe that lawmakers must depend on the result of studies of the current time and researches concerning these elements must be perennial. Strategies and approaches should be appropriate to current situations and individuals.
- Is it good policy?
- Yes, I remain certain that this is a good policy because it covers all concerns and how it will be applied to involved individuals, their families and the society as a whole.
- What has it achieved?
- The policy has achieved a number of outcomes. First is the Smoke-free Environment Amendment Act of 2003 which restricts the use of tobacco in working areas like restaurants and bars; as well as the ways on how to prevent non-smokers to second-hand smoke. The second is the formulation of the Community Action on Youth and Drugs which encourages the involvement of communities that aim to address the ill effects of drug on the youngsters. The third is the Effective Drug Education with its goal to educate the young people, their families and the society about drugs, tobacco and alcohol use. Lastly, The Alcohol Advisory Council which is geared to address drinking culture of adults in New Zealand.
- Would a different policy be likely to yield better results? For whom?
-I do not think that a different policy would result to better results. There is actually no need for a different policy. What is important is that the strategies molded under this policy should be implemented properly and be amended in accord to the present concerns and issues.
- Does the present policy need changing?
- Conditions will apply as to the changing of the policy. As mentioned, the making of these laws are derived from studies, surveys or researches, hence, it will need changing based upon the results of these procedures.
- Is it feasible to change it and in what ways?
-Yes, it will be feasible for change for as well as the amendment will address the problems identified or if the methods mentioned in the policy is no longer effective.
In your analysis you should also address the policy feasibility (Can it be implemented?) and plausibility (Can it be designed to make sense?).
- Complete a plan on which to develop solutions for the policy issue. (There is no requirement to develop the actual solutions).
In your analytical response, you need to include the following:
- Describe the intervention you wish to develop (Public health interventions maybe found in intervention types such as legislation and regulation, resource allocation, financial and non-financial incentives, education, community and inter-sectoral collaboration/partnership, communication, community and organisational delivery, public policy development, engineering and technical interventions, and service development and delivery)
- Identify, describe and quantify the essential resources or things needed for the implementation of the policy.
- Identify appropriate programmes and activities that could be undertaken. Consider:
- Existing services that could contribute to a strategy
- Needed services that are possible to help implement the strategy
- Applicability of possible services
- Identify and define strategies or alternative means for achieving implementation objectives.
- Identify and develop policy goals and objectives
- Make recommendations as to the practicability and acceptability of the policy.
- Politics, laws and budgets
If policies are the outcomes of choices that entities make to achieve their goals, then politics is the means to those ends. The product of the two (policy and politics) is usually legislation and the budgetary process that is required to support implementation. Politics is an activity whereby people achieve what they want by exerting power and influence. It involves conflict over the distribution of scarce resources. As a Healthcare professional you may be required to advocate and therefore be involved in political action. There are four major areas within which you may be asked to influence outcomes – the workplace, government, professional organisations and the community. For each of these areas, discuss and analyse the types of decision you may be asked to help influence.
Workplace. The advocacy in my workplace with regards to following policies should start within myself as an individual. This should commence within me which means that I must follow the policies mandated in my workplace. Being a model of my own self I will be able to influence others to follow rules and regulations. This must be through my actions and behaviors aside from my word of mouth. In addition, policies in our workplace are important in order for the staff and all other people concerned to abide with the institutional guidelines. This will help maintain the standards of orderliness and harmony or peace in my workplace. However, there are rules that are not appropriate as to some situations. Thus, I can contribute by involving myself in committees and may express concerns or suggestions for these regulations to be reviewed. I can also join surveys or be one of the respondents for policy improvements.
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Government. As a Filipino, I could not help but look back on how our government runs our policies. While it is true that laws are based from general standards globally and relatively in the same concept, undeniably, even our own lawmakers do not follow their own policies that they proposed and passed in the congress. To be an advocate in following the policies of the government here in New Zealand, I can do this by being a law-abiding individual. Moreover, I can contribute more by being familiar to the government system in this country.
Professional Regulation. Involvement in civic groups related to my profession is a beneficial advocacy since it will be easier for me to relate to concerns with regards to policy.
Community. By all means, there are groups in the community which focuses on policy issues. I can make myself available for surveys and any other methods to make doors for policy implementation and amendments.
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