Government agencies’ sustained crackdown on methamphetamine (‘P’) is continuing to stifle the spread of the drug among New Zealanders, Prime Minister John Key says.
“When I launched the Government’s plan to tackle P in 2009, this country had one of the highest proportion of P users in the world. At the time, I said this Government would confront the P problem using the full force of our arsenal.
“Three years on, I’m pleased to say the P trade has been persistently squeezed as new measures to combat the drug – as well as improved rehabilitation and support services – have been brought to bear.”
Since the Tackling Methamphetamine Action Plan was launched in October 2009, the data from the latest Indicators and Progress Report shows:
- The prevalence of P has more than halved, from 2.2 per cent of New Zealanders using in the drug in 2007/08 to just 0.9 per cent in 2011/12,
- The price of P has remained high, at around $100 per ‘point,’
- Over 500 people have been through the 60 additional dedicated residential treatment beds for methamphetamine users since November 2009,
- Participation in prison-based drug treatment programmes has almost doubled, from 499 prisoners in 2009/10 to 907 in 2011/12, and over that period of time the proportion of prisoners completing the courses has risen from 58 per cent to 82 per cent,
- P users are better at seeking help – since August 2010, the MethHelp website has been visited over 25,000 times, and over 10,000 copies of the MethHelp booklets have been ordered.
Mr Key says the action plan’s emphasis on greater awareness of the drug, in addition to better support and easier access to treatment, is showing encouraging signs.
“There has been a steady demand for information and support as people become aware of the damage P can do. The latest prevalence figures show that awareness is bearing out, as fewer people are trying the drug.
“There are still areas of concern for law enforcement agencies, and the need for vigilance is paramount,” says Mr Key.
“The report shows the price of P is remaining steady, which is good news. However, there is significant regional variation, with softening prices in parts of the upper North Island a concern.
“We also know New Zealand is being increasingly targeted by offshore criminal groups involved in P. New Zealand Police and Customs are working with their counterparts in China and other Asian countries to combat the methamphetamine trade.
“It’s vital Police, Customs and other agencies continue to use intelligence gathering and law enforcement methods to tackle the lucrative P market, where participants go to great lengths to hide their activities,” says Mr Key.
Reporting on the key indicators of the Tackling Methamphetamine Action Plan will continue on a six-monthly basis.
The latest report can be found at: http://www.dpmc.govt.nz/dpmc/publications/methamphetamine.