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NZ ’awash’ with imported meth

Associate professor Chris Wilkins - Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly.

New Zealand is "awash" with imported methamphetamine, which is so cheap and easy to get it’s now more available than cannabis, a drug researcher says.

A new Massey University study published today showed a sharp rise the use of imported crystal methamphetamine, known on the street as ice.

It was being made on an "industrial scale" in China and South East Asia which meant it was now cheaper to import it than make it locally, says Associate Professor Chris Wilkins.

"In Asia there’s been a quite a massive increase in the supply... so this part of the world is really awash with methamphetamine."

Read Broken Bad, RNZ’s in-depth look at NZ’s methamphetamine problem here.

His study of 300 frequent drug users found the proportion who reported crystal methamphetamine was easier to obtain more than doubled from 17 per cent in 2015 to 35 per cent in 2016.

The proportion using crystal methamphetamine also increased sharply from 54 per cent to 76 percent over that period.

The findings were consistent with record seizures of imported P made at the border in 2016, including the one-off find of 496 kilos on a Northland beach.

A more recent online survey of 6,000 drug users in March this year by Massey University found P was now more available than cannabis, says Dr Wilkins.

Former P addict Bex Mabley spent most of the last decade using and injecting meth on almost a daily basis.

She knew just how easy it was to get a fix.

"I was just getting it given to me. Meth is everywhere, it’s so cheap now it’s flooding New Zealand. You can’t get away from it," she says.

It’s a reality Eastern District Organised Crime head detective senior sergeant Brent Greville knows well.

Ninety per cent of his investigations were now focussed at stopping gangs wholesaling the drug in the Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne regions.

He had been a cop in the district for 30 years and seen meth-related crimes had grown "astronomically" in the last 10 years, he says.

"And even more so in the last five years... it’s certainly the most insidious drug I’ve ever dealt with."

P was rarely manufactured in this region anymore as gangs flooded the market with imported drugs from Asia, he says.

"It’s always very satisfying to take out them out and get the drugs off the street for a while, because I’ve seen the harm this stuff causes to people in our community. But...there’s always going to be someone to fill that gap."

"Until people stop using the stuff then we’ll always have something to do."

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4 Comments
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re: GreertonBoy

Posted on 03-05-2018 21:19 | By simple.really

And who is going to pay for the cost of purifying drugs for junkies? Not my tax payer money I hope. Rather they made it lethal instead. Problem solved.

p wash

Posted on 03-05-2018 19:21 | By socantor

If dumb, stupid people stopped buying the stuff the problem would soon clear. So, what about it, dumb, stupid people?

If people are so dumb....

Posted on 03-05-2018 14:07 | By GreertonBoy

To want this garbage.... it will be near impossible to stop criminals finding new ways to import it here. Maybe the NZ Government should confiscate what they find, purify it and make it at least somewhat safe (at least a known substance, not poison) and give it to fools who want it. At least then the junkies would know what they are taking is ok, and there will be no point any overseas drug labs trying to smuggle the stuff here.... no one will buy their risky drugs if relatively safe Govt. supplied alternative is readily available for free or low cost.

Meth usage

Posted on 03-05-2018 12:58 | By davidt5

The real question is how are these large quantities of the drug getting in to our country?Customs have TV programmes showing how they are locating quantites of meth coming in to NZ, but in reality they are not even scratching the surface of these illegal imports.It is critical that these nasty drugs be stopped at the border and that greater efforts are required to achieve this outcome.Of course the next question is why do people feel the need to use meth when they are well aware that it is highly addictive?