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‘P’ easier to get than cannabis

By Hayley Gastmeier

[email protected]

Methamphetamine is now easier to get than cannabis in Wairarapa, and is consuming people’s lives, says a Masterton addiction worker.

The warning comes as New Zealand faces a “second wave” of a dangerous methamphetamine problem as the illicit drug becomes cheaper and more readily available.

This week, Police Association president Greg O’Connor said despite several big drug busts in recent months, anecdotal evidence from front line officers suggested the country now had a greater problem with the drug than ever before.

“Methamphetamine is, in many places, easier to get hold of than cannabis.

“Police officers’ informants are telling them that they go around trying to score cannabis and they can’t get it – but people are offering them P.”

Maude Brown is the senior clinician for addiction at Te Hauora Runanga O Wairarapa.

She agrees with police, saying her clients have told her “it is so hard to get cannabis, but P is just readily available”.

“It’s accessible, it’s easy, and they will do whatever they need to do to get them hooked on to it and make them come back for more.”

Ms Brown said P was a “selfish drug”.

“The person is consumed with using it again and again and they will do whatever it takes to get it.”

The dug “overtakes people’s sense of responsibility and common sense”.

“They forget about their own health needs, their commitment to work, home, relationships and family.”

She said a chronic user would not think twice to spending money destined for food, accommodation and day-today basics to feed their habit.

“It takes over their lives. It becomes the most important, high priority issue. It replaces the need for them to be responsible to their family members.”

Detective Senior Sergeant Barry Bysouth said just last week a Wairarapa person was arrested and charged for being in position of what is believed to be 48gms of the drug and $10,000 in cash.

A gram of P has a street value of between $700 and $1000.

“We have seen an increase in seizure of the drug by police in Wairarapa this year, at least three of those seizures being over 10 grams.”

He said the seizure of the drugs “must be seen in a positive light” as it meant the drug was not getting to those addicted to it.

“That means there is a reduction in the people of being victimized as there is a strong link between the use of this drug and the commission of crime.”

Mr Bysouth said police referred cases where they could to community partners rather than taking people through the courts.

“We are always looking for help in this area, and any assistance the public can give us is appreciated.”

Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott said the “nasty” drug affected people’s lives dramatically.

“This is not a recreational drug like pot or cocaine. This stuff is extremely addictive and extremely destructive.”

He said all necessary measures were needed to rid it from society, and “awareness and education” would help.

“People needed to look for signs in family members, youth or anyone who might be on it . . . and notify the authorities.”

Wairarapa’s P problem was no “better or worse” than other parts of New Zealand, Mr Scott said.

He said the main problem was the manufacturing element.

“It’s not like you can grow it, you create it, so you can’t fly helicopters over a plantation and spot it.

“These guys are quite clever, they can rent a place for a weekend and set themselves up and manufacture the stuff.”

Mr Scott was one of the MPs involved in creating a Member’s Bill which was recently put into the ballot box.

The proposed law gives landlords permission to, with notice, have occupied rental properties tested for P, and to evacuate tenants if a house is found uninhabitable.

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Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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