Ex-drug lord Billy Macfarlane says Kiwi kids as young as six doing cocaine, NZ Drug Foundation not so sure

  • 07/03/2024

An ex-drug lord and founder of a drug rehabilitation programme claims children as young as six years old are using cocaine in New Zealand. 

It comes as a new report revealed cocaine use in New Zealand has increased by 93 percent in the past year. 

The study by the NZ Drug Foundation found 56,000 people (1.3 percent) used cocaine in the 2022/2023 year, which is a 93 percent increase on the previous three years' average. 

Reformed drug dealer Billy Macfarlane is the founder of the drug rehabilitation programme Pūwhakamua. He joined AM on Thursday to discuss the rise in cocaine usage in New Zealand. 

He told the show New Zealand children can now access and sell drugs online, through sites like Facebook marketplace. 

"No matter what we do, they're going to do it so we should educate them to reduce the amount of harm that's going to do it," Macfarlane told co-host Melissa Chan-Green. 

He said kids as young as six years old are consuming cocaine in New Zealand. 

A shocked Melissa Chan-Green asked him for evidence of his claims. 

"Yeah, remember I work in the prisons every week, I work with people who are just being honest about stuff but no one is listening," Macfarlane responded.  

"The age is going to get younger and the problem's going to get bigger, until we decide to do something smart." 

The data on the NZ Drug Foundation study only looked at the usage of cocaine in people aged 15 and older. 

"We don't have any evidence of this [kids using cocaine], but it's not something we've heard anecdotally before so it would be concerning and surprising," a spokesperson from the NZ Drug Foundation said.   

Macfarlane is urging a rethink on how New Zealand responds to the increasing use of narcotics. 

"It's going to take time but we need to go into consultation with the people who are the so-called 'problem'," Macfarlane said. 

"We are talking about the problem all the time, but we are not talking to it." 

Watch the video above.