It seems we are on the way to take out the OECD prize for meth heads


There are concerns New Zealand’s facing a methamphetamine epidemic, with claims it’s becoming cheaper than alcohol.

Rosemary Reece-Morgan is 17 years sober but she still calls herself a recovering drug addict. She now runs The Retreat treatment clinic in south Auckland.

“We have reached epidemic proportions, we have serious problems with methamphetamine right now.”

She says the number of people needing help for meth addiction has shot through the roof in the past six months, and users are telling her it’s almost cheaper to get on the pipe than it is to drink alcohol.

“If you’re looking at a little bag, a point, a hundred dollars of methamphetamine, if you look at that you can break that down into four pipes. That goes a lot longer than a bottle of Jack Daniels.”

Police and Customs seized three times more meth last year than in any other year, and reports show it’s easier to access than ever — more easy to get hold of than cannabis — and sources have told Newshub more and more drug users are switching to meth.

That has Police Commissioner Mike Bush worried.

“We’re almost at the end of our cannabis operation, so we’re having and impact there, but I’m very concerned about the availability of methamphetamine right throughout New Zealand.”

The market is flooded with the stuff, so there is obviously a glut of precursors kicking around the country.  Either the police are getting fooled, or this is all in the too hard basket.

One thing that is hard to understand is that for all the harm that Marijuana does, and you compare the effort that goes into policing that, and the harm that Meth does, and you look at the effort that goes into that, and you add to that nobody ever overdosed on Marijuana, it’s all getting kinda weird.

Better to have cheap marijuana kicking around instead of cheap meth.


– Lucy Warhurst, Newshub


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  • Uncle Bully

    Given all the adverse publicity about meth, I just cannot understand why seemingly respectable, middle class people think it’s a good idea to try it in the first place. Do they really think they are strong-willed enough to resist the addictive allure of the stuff?

    “Directly mimicking a natural neurotransmitter “teaches” your brain to want a drug—that’s how nicotine and heroin work. Crystal methamphetamine takes it to the next level: it imitates the reward chemical dopamine and the alertness chemical norepinephrine, causing your neurons to release more of both—all the while training your brain to want them more. What’s worse, the drug can damage dopamine- and norepinephrine-releasing neurons, which leads to a drastic decrease in their production, thereby making you crave more meth. It’s an addict’s nightmare and a marketer’s dream.”

    • Kevin

      There’s no such thing as drug that can get you hooked on one hit. Even heroin, one of the most addictive drugs in the world, takes users a number of hits before the user gets addicted.

      I have a theory I call the “I’m different, I can’t get addicted to this” theory. We’re told that just one try of [insert drug here] will get you hooked (by the way, originally this was applied to alcohol with ads showing some guy taking his first sip and then showing him as a hopeless drunk). Anyway, what happens is someone tries the drug and thinks, “Hey, I can handle this”. And so they try it again, and than again, and before the know it they’re hooked.

  • GoingRight

    So not only does this drug do harm to those who use it, consider this. For everyone who uses this drug inside a dwelling, albeit their own or a rented property, they will contaminate that property. This can cause harm to those who live there. Once the house is tested as is becoming more and more common when a sale of a house happens or suspicions arise from the tenants behaviour and is found to be positive for ‘P’ then the owner’s nightmare begins. We know to our own cost. Our rental has been empty since late last year. Took till just after Christmas to give readings below 0.5 which is the recommended figure approved by the government as safe and then we had to get the house put back together. We are up to about $90,000 and nearly finished. Totally wasted money, insurance paid out $25,000 which only covered the actual cleaning and retesting process. I can tell you those who have rentals, be very careful. This could affect anyone who rents out a home. It has been the most distressing experience financially and emotionally.

    • Kiwi Sapper

      AS I am buying in a new area which I know nothing about, apart from it being isolated, could you please give the cost for just the initial testing as I feel it may be come common sense for anyone buying to have the dwelling tested

      • SAM51

        I thought they said on the news the other night it was around $300?

        • richard.b

          I think theye are a couple of levels of test that can be carried out. One a bit more comprehensive then the other.

          • GoingRight

            At first you only need the initial swab test where about 8 places are swabbed. This test will establish if ‘P’ is present, but will not identify exactly where the ‘p’ is found. A further test is required in each room to see where the worst areas are. Our worst area was behind the stove so they probably were cooking plus using the substance. I can’t describe what I think of these people.

      • GoingRight

        Our son just bought a house at auction and the cost was somewhere around $400-$500 Inc get. We would always insist any of our family get any prospective house tested prior to buying including prior to bidding at auction. Best to lose a few hundred dollars than be left with a house no one can live in till $1000’s spent. This is only going to get worse as more places are tested.

    • BR

      The health hazards associated with ex P houses appear to be significantly overstated.

      The idea that a house can be rendered uninhabitable just by having P smoked in it is preposterous. It looks to me as though even the hazards associated with ex P labs are also overstated, possibly be a wide margin.

      Some light needs to be shone on what EXACTLY are the health hazards and which chemicals are so damn dangerous that nobody can occupy a house where they exist only in the tiniest trace amounts. Are we talking fissionable plutonium here?

      Benzene appears to be at the top of the danger list. Benzene it is a volatile aromatic compound that evaporates after a good airing, and also makes up about 1% of lead free petrol. Hydrogen chloride is also near the top, but it can’t be very dangerous in trace amounts because it is a component of stomach acid (hydrochloric acid).

      I hate drugs, but lies need to be exposed whatever their intent.
      It seems to me that the risks landlords face have conscripted them into becoming unpaid snoops and spies. These risks do not come from P labs or meth users, but from state funded health and safety zealots.


      • Rick H

        In the next few months, or years, depending on where you live, exactly the same “tests” will render a house uninhabitable, if the log burner is over 12 years old.
        I also am very sceptical about the “alleged” health risks of being in a house that people smoked P in a few months ago.

    • Mr_Blobby

      You make a good case for just keeping the property vacant, with rental returns so low is it even worth the risk.

      Especially as tenants have all the rights and very little accountability.

      The Government has the biggest problem. 1. they have more rental property than anybody else.

      and 2. they house the tenants that nobody else in there right mind would want.

      I do not believe for one minute the official level of meth contamination in state houses. Logic would suggest that it would be the highest of anybody.

      • GoingRight

        We had a sale on it last year subject to a builders report which included a ‘p’ test. So the prospective purchasers pulled out. What a shock this was, never occurred to us this could happen! We shall now try and sell it again, hopefully the ‘history’ of the house won’t be detrimental to us especially as the new owners have a considerably improved property.

        • Mr_Blobby

          The problem is that the so called P test is very subjective.

          The purist will say any amount is contamination.

          As I said there is a good business case given the low rate of return for just leaving a house vacant.

          Simple risk v’s return.Especially if you are just using it to park some ill gotten gains from offshore.

          • GoingRight

            We rely on the rents for our income so timing is not great.

    • Si1970

      I am thinking of renting out our property which has had a family member in it for 25 years. It would make an amazing family home, water front with a reserve. But it’s rural and quiet. I know nothing about NZ tenancy law. Can I strike a contract with prospective tenants to make them personally (fiscally) liable for meth damage…a lien across their third party trust assets for example? The property won’t be attractive to tenants without a decent rent paying ability, and I’ll personally vet them using my gut feel.

      • GoingRight

        I am unsure about the legal side of things, but know you can install a machine which is tamper proof and detects if ‘p’ is being smoked or cooked, but whether you can legally make them pay even if they have the funds who knows. Others may have this information for you.

  • cows4me

    For what it is worth. I’ve been told that many meth addicts fear marijuana may be legalised because they sell dope to pay for meth.

  • HR

    I have dealt with people on meth….no fear, don’t feel pain, ultra aggressive, strength of 10 men.

    And that wasn’t me…..

  • Golden Teapot

    From another perspective there is good news here. There is now no good reason that we should not return to over-the-counter sales of products that are quite effective when I’m faced with a blocked nose.

    I read recently about the testing of secondhand cars for contamination in some markets too.

    I’m not sure I have sympathy for landlords with problems here by default. If there was adequate background testing of tenants beforehand and this included a drug test and ongoing drug tests then fair enough. If the assumption was made that the tenants were okay because they looked like nice people (and perhaps they didn’t even pass this threshold) then I’m at the 0% sympathy end of the scale.

    I don’t have a rental property. If I did then all living in my house would be peeing into a cup before they moved in and then repeating this six monthly thereafter. Perhaps I’d only be a popular landlord for those who wanted to live in a safe house? That would suit me fine and dandy.

    I wonder whether banks will start to think about this when assessing the credit risk they are carrying. Lending money to a landlord that chooses not to properly vet tenants could easily push a maximum geared mortgage holder into negative equity territory following contamination at the same time as their rental income stream being voided for months or longer.

  • RightyTighty LeftyLoosey

    With all the destruction that meth causes, I can’t for the life of me understand why we still have gangs in this country. They are the main distributors of this evil product and yet the police only seems to have limited powers to control them.
    If it were up to me, I would engage the Police AND the Army to ring fence their gang pads, houses and other property and make any belonging to a gang illegal.
    Just this morning I was passed on the Southern Motorway by a Tribesman on a motorbike who had a bag over his shoulder. What self respecting man has a shoulder bag in the first place and so the question is – what was in that bag?

    • Mr_Blobby

      The gangs are just the middle men.

      The supply comes out of one factory in China, Nancy boy key when he is finished kissing the premiers arse but should ask about the possibility of simply not manufacturing the one drug that is causing all the problems.

      A better solution than taking the best cold flu medication off the shelf.

      The answer will be we are going to play mummy and daddy again, you can be mummy this time, get over here and suck mummys [email protected]#$

  • Hesaidwhat?

    Firstly legalising cannabis wont have much effect on the meth trade. Meth Addicts use cannabis to tie them over between meth hits not instead of.
    In the 1990s two senior Police authored a paper to parliament outlining the pending threat of meth and what needed to be done to prevent it establishing in NZ. Their recommendations were ignored by successive governments and now we are reaping the rewards.
    Why is it that suddenly there is a spike in meth use and a 15% rise in burglaries after decades of decline?? Its because after many successive years of Police budget freezes and cuts we now have the situation where the thin blue line has stretched to almost breaking point and its showing in the results. For years they have been told to ‘work smarter”, and they have with less money. But now they simply dont have the resources to cope with the demand.
    It is also no co-incidence that the availability of meth has increased at the same time the Asian immigrant population has increased. Asian organised crime are donkey deep in bringing this crap into our country and they are strong-arming Asian students into being part of it. Most Meth precursors are manufactured in China… a negative consequence of the Chinese FTA????

  • Mr_Blobby

    So how is the war on drugs going.

    Like most wars around the World, not good, bad for the general population and expensive.

    Under the Taliban heroin production in Afghanistan was dropping, after the US arrived with 150,000 troops it hit all time highs.

    So we really do not want say 50,000 US troops patrolling the streets of new Zealand, drug production would go through the roof.

    But seriously how is it going.

    The Police are making all these high profile busts around the Country, nek day business goes on as usual.

    Customs have a knack for wanting to look in all the wrong places, estimate and it is just an estimate, intercepting about 10%. One day they may or may not come to the realization that I am not a drug smuggler, and if I was I would not be pissing around with what I could carry in on my person.

    The Courts, have just given a wet bus ticket slap to a senior Lawyer for buying Meth. Well done.

    The Politicians, what can I say all piss and wind, the economy both legitimate and not carries on regardless of anything they say or do.

    So how is it going. Supply up, price down, Lots of TAX free profits, no excise TAX, no GST.

    All the experts bent over with their pants down around there ankles.

  • goodwitheu

    Working as a runner driver at the moment on the recycling trucks… I see a lot of pipes in the bins. Astonishing how many people smoke weed using the “bucket” method too.

  • Damon Mudgway

    Interestingly, the only reason the drug trade exists is to make money to buy stuff that marketers tell consumers they need to feel complete. So in theory, without motorbikes, fast cars, flash boats and big houses available to purchase there would be little point in manufacturing illicit drugs. Ergo, I blame big corporations, and ultimately John Key for this scourge on our society.

  • Keanne Lawrence

    There is a serous human rights issue here IMO. If some junkie decides to overdose why do other people rush in to spoil their high? They have paid for it by legal or illegal means and should be left to enjoy it.