The principal of a high school under scrutiny for providing information on how to use meth is standing by the material as a "very good" educational resource.

Massey High School principal Glen Denham addressed criticism on Newstalk ZB tonight after it emerged that the "information notice" was made available to Level 3 health students as part of a wider project on drug use in New Zealand.

The material, which can also be found on a website called drughelp.org.nz, features 10 "keeping well" tips for using meth.

"When taking meth eat something every 4 to 5 hours, drink more water than normal," it says.

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"If using a glass pipe, clean the inside regularly to remove butt residue which could be inhaled."

The final tip and most shocking reads: "meth is illegal, it's also illegal to own a pipe. Be discrete (sic) and only keep 5 grams for personal use."

The school stressed today that it did not condone illegal drug use, drugs on the school campus, and says it does not teach its pupils how to use drug instruments.

Denham said the information, which was reported by concerned parents, was taken out of context.

"It was two pages out of 25 – among over 600 resources that were available to the kids," he said.

"The parents who got on to it, who we have spoken to, took it out of context.

"We have some brilliant young people coming through New Zealand, some 17 and 18-year-olds, taught by fantastic teachers and I think we are underestimating their ability to be discerning."

The pamphlet features 10
The pamphlet features 10 "keeping well" tips for using meth. Photo / Supplied
A concerned parent posted a photo of the pamphlet to a community Facebook page. Photo / Supplied
A concerned parent posted a photo of the pamphlet to a community Facebook page. Photo / Supplied

Denham said he was comfortable with the information that described how to use methamphetamine, saying it was a "very good brochure".

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"In the context of the whole thing, the book talks about the detriments of using methamphetamine, how it destroys relationships and opportunities and is a killer of young people."

The Drug Foundation has applauded Massey High School's use of the material.

"I applaud the school for providing all of the information they have provided," Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell said.

Bell said people needed to understand the context that the material was used in.

"This booklet hasn't been given out as part of a drug curriculum, it's been given out as a wider social investigation on various issues with meth in this country," Bell said.

Massey High School distributed the "information notice" to Level 3 health students but say it was provided by the Ministry of Health.

A Ministry of Health spokesperson said the booklet and associated website information weren't "specifically" designed for use in a school environment.

"The MethHelp booklet was designed to support adult users to stop, to reduce use and to stay healthy."

An Auckland mother told the Herald she was shocked at the school's attempt to legitimise its actions.

Sarah Clare, whose son is a Year 11 student at the school, said the material was encouraging drug use, not stopping it.

"Even if the rest of the book is saying it's bad for you, that one page of comments saying, 'meth isn't that bad it's how you use it' – contradicts the rest of the booklet."

Clare said that comment - "be discreet and only keep less than 5 grams for personal use" - was shocking.

Massey High School in the firing line for a questionable notice about using meth discreetly. Photo/ File
Massey High School in the firing line for a questionable notice about using meth discreetly. Photo/ File

Bell said that comment was about giving drug-users advice about how they can reduce harms around drug share.

"There is the harm of criminal convictions and we are just saying there are those risks if you parade a quantity of drugs for supply ... that's just practical information that's been out there for a long time."

Anti-drug organisation Methcon said the Drug Foundation had pushed the "harm minimisation" approach for at least the last decade.

"The theory is flawed and dangerous, particularly when discussing methamphetamine. Meth is the most addictive drug. It is impossible to use the drug in a safe way.

"Methcon's approach is one of 'harm elimination'. We believe that the bar needs to be set high and that the best way to avoid meth harm is to not use at all."

Earlier today the Herald received an email from another concerned parent with photos of the material.

The same photos were shared on a number of community Facebook pages causing a social media storm.

Clare said her son wasn't in that Level 3 year group but she was terrified he may have seen it from other kids sharing it around.

"I don't want him reading that. I was in shock when I saw it, I couldn't believe the kids were receiving this information about drugs and it said nothing about how bad it was … it just said how to you use it."

The school insists it does not condone illegal drug use, drugs on the school campus, and says it does not teach its pupils how to use drug instruments.

The school has also responded to a concerned parent via Facebook saying it is aware of the notice and is dealing with it.

"It is a document which is provided from the Ministry of Health, for public distribution. It is used in our Level 3 Health classes, where they are dealing with a health issue in NZ," a Massey High School spokesperson said via Facebook messenger.

A Massey High School spokesperson confirmed this, saying "the material can also be found online and is part of 'Drug Help', specifically here, a NZ Drug Foundation programme that is fully funded by the Ministry of Health."

The school said it had discussed this information with the parent, who has subsequently removed her post. However, it has been shared by others not privy to our discussion."

Ministry of Education deputy secretary of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said it was aware of the concerns raised.

"Massey High School has reassured us the pamphlet is part of a wide range of material used by Year 13 students as part of their Level 3 Health Course.

"We are advised the purpose of the pamphlet, funded by the Ministry of Health, is to assist current users to stop," she said.

"If parents have any concerns about the curriculum they should raise them with their school."

The Ministry of Health funds the New Zealand Drug Foundation to run the DrugHelp website (including MethHelp) as a source of information about the risks of methamphetamine and where to get help.

The MoH spokesperson said they recognise the impact of methamphetamine on users, their whanau and on communities.