Meth is not a substitute for marijuana, Paula Bennett says

Paula Bennett says the situation with methamphetamine, or P, in New Zealand is "absolutely horrific".

The Deputy Prime Minister and Police Minister has urged New Zealanders not to use P as a substitute for marijuana.

Ms Bennett says there appears to have been a drought in the marijuana season, and she has heard some people were turning towards P instead.

"I've heard anecdotally that it was a bad growing season for marijuana in some parts of New Zealand, I'm not the expert on that, and that as a consequence that's driven up the price of marijuana and made P more attractive.

"Can I just say to every New Zealander that's thinking [of using P instead of marijuana], that actually a bit of a toke on marijuana is incredibly different than having a go at P. Which one hit, and you are hooked and it takes an average seven years to get off that addictive substance.

"It is not just soul-destroying for individuals but we see families in so many towns and cities that are absolutely destroyed because one member is going through the hideous addiction of it."

However Ms Bennett doesn't think legalising a drug like marijuana so people would use that over P was the answer.

Her message is: "Don't go near any of them, but certainly don't see P as a substitute to marijuana".

She says the situation with P addiction in New Zealand is "absolutely horrific".

"I don't know if I would even call it a war on P, I think there is a battle and there are too many New Zealanders that are losing, and they are addicted and it's absolutely horrific.

"This insidious drug that hooks people on the first hit of it, and destroys individuals and families. I'm just seeing too many people that are caught in that hideous trap."