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Massey High principal defends controversial MethHelp handbook given to Year 13 kids - 'Simply writing it as 'meth is bad don't do it' would have no effect'

Massey High School's principal has defended resources provided to year 13 students in a health class that left a parent outraged on social media, concerned it was "encouraging students" to do meth. 

Massy High School says the Drug Foundation material has been taken out of context. Source: 1 NEWS

The MethHelp Handbook, which can also be found on the New Zealand Drug Foundation's Drug Help website, a programme funded by the Ministry of Health, features two pages showing "10 ways to keep well if using meth".

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"When taking meth, eat something every four or five hours; drink more water than normal; and if you've been awake longer than 24 hours, have a break and relax for a while," is one suggested tip.

Photos shared to Facebook by concerned Massey High School parent taken from MethHelp handbook. Source: Facebook

"Glass pipes become brittle and get super hot. Be careful with it to avoid burns or cuts, and use a Pyrex pipe if possible," is another tip.

A concerned parent shared two photos of these tips to Facebook this morning, outraged students were being taught "how to use and hide their meth use".

The post quickly gained attention from hundreds sharing concern.

"I am really horrified I can understand the educating them on the risks but this reads more of fairytale than a cautionary one," one person commented.

"I am terrified of what my children 2 & 9months will have to see be taught or have to steer clear from when they hit high school with drug abuse," wrote another. 

In a statement provided to 1 NEWS, Massey High School said the material shared by a concerned parent to Facebook "has been taken out of context of a larger book".

The school has since discussed the information with the parent who has removed her Facebook post.

The book in question is a resource provided to Year 13 students undertaking a Level 3 Health Course.

Each year about 27-35 Year 13 student take the Health 301 course at Massey High School.

As part of this course students are asked to "analyse a New Zealand Health Issue", in this case it was methamphetamine use by 15-24-year-olds.

It focuses on the negative impacts on the individual, relationships and society, and looks at recommendations for change.

According to the school, the social media post of photos taken of pages from the resource are made available to students for their investigation and is not explicitly taught to students.

"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," Massey High School said in the statement.

When asked by 1 NEWS if the school thought it was appropriate to be providing students with a handbook that has information explaining how to use meth, answers provided on behalf of school principal Glen Denham suggest they believe the resource was appropriate given the context in which it was provided to students.

"In this case it is explained that this particular resource is aimed at a user who is trying to go clean. Simply writing it as 'meth is bad don’t do it' would have no effect on the user so it aims to ensure that the user knows the extent of the issue, how to ensure they don’t damage themselves further, then steps to take to come off the drug."

He also said there have been no complaints in the past from either parents or students regarding the assessment and subsequent resources.

The overall comment from students who have taken the Health 301 course in the past is "they were unaware as to the true extent of the problems that methamphetamine presents prior to doing this unit".

The Drug Foundation's Executive Director, Ross Bell told 1 NEWS the Drug Help resources are not specifically designed as student resources, but "anyone can use" the resource booklets which are aimed at people wanting to quit, or lesson their use of the drug. 

He said over 20,000 people, including police and community groups have been provided with the resource.

The Drug Foundation were happy for Massey High School to use the resource as it was building awareness and "recognising meth is an issue in the community".

"We should never shy away from that," said Mr Bell.

"In reality there are going to be students who are in homes where parents or close family members are using."

He says these resources can also be of assistance to young people worried about their loved ones using meth.