P scene pressured through Government plan

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Mike Sabin, MP for Northland has welcomed news that Government measures continue to put pressure on the P trade, with very encouraging trends showing through in the latest Methamphetamine Indicators and Progress Report.

“Since the implementation of the Government plan to tackle P in 2009 there has been a far more comprehensive and sustained crackdown on methamphetamine (‘P’), which is continuing to stifle the spread of the drug among New Zealanders,” Mr Sabin says.

“When this plan was launched, this country had one of the highest prevalence of P use in the world, something I had been working to address from a policy and education standpoint, both here and internationally,” says Mr Sabin, former Police detective and specialist in the area of methamphetamine and founder of a drug education and policy company dealing with this area.

“In 2009 Prime Minister John Key took a leadership role and, through this plan, mobilised government to confront the P problem using the full force of their arsenal, carefully implementing a number of approaches which I had certainly seen effective results with in other countries.

“Three years on, it is pleasing and very heartening to see the P trade has been persistently squeezed as new measures to combat the drug — as well as improved rehabilitation and support services — have been brought to bear.

Since the Tackling Methamphetamine Action Plan was launched in October 2009, the data from the latest Indicators and Progress Report shows:

  • The prevalence of P has more than halved, from 2.2 per cent of New Zealanders using the drug in 2007/08 to just 0.9 per cent in 2011/12
  • The price of P has remained high, at around $100 per ‘point’
  • Over 500 people have been through the 60 additional dedicated residential treatment beds for methamphetamine users since November 2009
  • Participation in prison-based drug treatment programmes has almost doubled, from 499 prisoners in 2009/10 to 907 in 2011/12, and over that period of time the proportion of prisoners completing the courses has risen from 58 per cent to 82 per cent
  • P users are better at seeking help — since August 2010, the MethHelp website has been visited over 25,000 times, and over 10,000 copies of the MethHelp booklets have been ordered.

Mr Sabin says the action plan’s emphasis on greater awareness of the drug, in addition to better support and easier access to treatment, is showing encouraging signs and brings far better balance to preventing use, healing users and reducing supply.

“There has been a steady demand for information and support as people become aware of the damage P can do, something I strongly support in terms of providing a greater platform for deterrence and prevention. The latest prevalence figures show that awareness is bearing out, as fewer people are trying the drug.

“There are of course still areas of concern for law enforcement agencies, and the need for on-going vigilance is paramount,” says Mr Sabin.

“The report shows the price of P is remaining steady, which is good news, as lowering prices generally indicates higher prevalence and use. However, there is significant regional variation as the market and supply is disrupted and softening prices in parts of the upper North Island are of concern.

“New Zealand is being increasingly targeted by offshore criminal groups involved in P, but the targeted efforts of the New Zealand Police and Customs, and cooperation with their counterparts in China and other Asian countries, have significantly improved the results in combating the methamphetamine trade.

“The changes in the methamphetamine scene in New Zealand and results achieved since 2009 are impressive and something I know is being noticed by other countries struggling with this insidious drug.

“It is an on-going challenge in this country and something  requiring vigilance from us all as we move forward. However, 15 years on from its genesis, the P problem is being significantly impacted through the leadership of this Government since the introduction of the 2009 plan, something I’m proud to be involved in,” Mr Sabin says.

Reporting on the key indicators of the Tackling Methamphetamine Action Plan will continue on a six-monthly basis.

The latest report can be found at:


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