Are we losing the war on meth?


There are concerns New Zealand's facing a methamphetamine epidemic, with claims it's becoming cheaper than alcohol.

Rosemary Reece-Morgan is 17 years sober but she still calls herself a recovering drug addict.  She now runs The Retreat treatment clinic in south Auckland.

"We have reached epidemic proportions, we have serious problems with methamphetamine right now."

She says the number of people needing help for meth addiction has shot through the roof in the past six months, and users are telling her it's almost cheaper to get on the pipe than it is to drink alcohol.

"If you're looking at a little bag, a point, a hundred dollars of methamphetamine, if you look at that you can break that down into four pipes.  That goes a lot longer than a bottle of Jack Daniels."

Police and Customs seized three times more meth last year than in any other year, and reports show it's easier to access than ever -- more easy to get hold of than cannabis -- and sources have told Newshub more and more drug users are switching to meth.

That has Police Commissioner Mike Bush worried.

"We're almost at the end of our cannabis operation, so we're having and impact there, but I'm very concerned about the availability of methamphetamine right throughout New Zealand."

The Government declared war on meth in 2009.

Ministry of Health figures show the number of Kiwis using it has remained relatively stable over the past four years, currently around one percent of adults, an estimated 26,000.

Police say they're working on the problem on an international level as well as domestically.

"What we have to do is dismantle those gangs and groups that are responsible for either importing or trafficking into and in New Zealand."

But if Rosemary Reece-Morgan is right, they will have to increase their efforts to keep up with the growing trend.