Meth easier to get and cheaper to buy - study

Methamphetamine also known as crystal meth
Photo credit: Getty

New research shows meth is infiltrating regions and small towns, and services struggling to cope.

The Massey University Illicit Drug Monitoring System reports 44 percent of frequent drug users found it easy to get P in 2016, compared to only 19 percent finding it readily available in 2015.

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

A more recent survey by Massey University, conducted in March this year, shows users now find the drug easier and cheaper to buy then cannabis,

Lead researcher Professor Chris Wilkins says in particular drug issues are rising in the Waikato, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay and Bay of Plenty with no help services.

Prof Wilkins says meth can be produced in higher quantities, with more profits.

"It's now moved into a more [import-based] market relying on supplies from Asia. And because of the amount of supply we've seen a real sharp increase in availability.

"It's in smaller towns and rural areas that drug-dealing gangs have particular control over the local drug market. That's allowed them to favour methamphetamine as a means to increase their earnings."

Prof Wilkins says many users have told them it's hard to access help.

"The real challenge there is to try and rebalance the effort away from just a knee-jerk enforcement response to something that's more long-term and gives people options when they do want to stop using drugs."

Newshub.