War on P working, John Key says
Tuesday 20 Dec 2011 11:07 a.m.
The PM says manufacturing is being pushed offshore
The rising price of methamphetamine, or P, shows a crackdown on the drug is working, says Prime Minister John Key.
The mean price of a gram rose 6 per cent to $768 in one year, according to data in a progress report for the government's two-and-a-half-year-old Tackling Methamphetamine Action Plan, released on Tuesday.
Dedicated frontline efforts against the P trade were starting to show results, Mr Key said, as he praised the hard line taken on the drug, while warning the battle was not over.
"Six months ago there were signs that supply chains were being disrupted, due to the efforts both at the border and domestically."
The type of border seizures were changing, with precursor materials, such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, down 44 per cent in one year, but seizures of methamphetamine itself were rising. In the first nine months of this year, the 23kg seized nearly matched all that recovered in 2010.
That showed manufacturing was being pushed offshore, Mr Key said.
Under new laws to confiscate the proceeds of crime, police have so far identified about $92 million worth of assets derived from crime - nearly half of that from methamphetamine crimes.
Massey University drug expert Chris Wilkins told NZ Newswire law changes making the precursor drugs prescription-only and strengthening border controls had hurt manufacturers.
The price of P had gone up about 28 per cent in the last five years and its potency had declined.
It was hard to say if the overall supply had reduced. Methamphetamine use peaked around 2002 when a lot of people started trying it, but they eventually realised it was not a good drug and use had declined - apart from among those entrenched users.
Dr Wilkins said the next fashion in drugs appeared to be in the use of ecstasy, where synthetic chemicals were becoming part of that scene.