Methamphetamine is a scourge, there should be no soft, namby-pamby treatment for meth dealers.
Prime Minister John Key won’t be drawn on whether he supports a move by police to stop prosecuting some small-time P dealers.
Officers in the Waitemata policing district are no longer prosecuting some low-level dealers of pure methamphetamine, or P – such as those who sell to a neighbour.
Speaking to Radio New Zealand, Detective Senior Sergeant Stan Brown said arresting low level offenders did not work by itself and it could be better in some cases to refer people for rehabilitation.
Key has led the Government’s “War on P”, which has involved a range of measures to target drug manufacturers, gangs and addicts.
He knew little about Waitemata Police’s approach, so he did not want “to overly critique it”.
But he said the Government had generally tried to emphasise prosecution of P dealers rather than those who used them.
“We prosecute both, obviously,” he told reporters at his weekly press conference. But most of the Government’s energy went into cutting off the source of the drug.
It’s not working. All the measures have done is ensure meth manufacturing is outsourced, mostly to China. The gangs don’t care if they get a few containers intercepted, that’s just acceptable losses passed on to the addicts. They don’t even ship it in via Auckland, mainly because the port is well staffed with a heavy Police and Customs presence. Instead, they prefer ports like Tauranga and Timaru.
Key said the National-led Government’s policies had worked “on one level”. The number of people using the drug had fallen from 2.2 per cent to 1.1 percent of the adult population since new measures were introduced in 2009.
The remaining 1.1 per cent were “more intense”, frequent users of the drug, Key said, and could benefit from a less punitive approach.
“Rehabilitation is certainly a way of working through that,” he said.
Key said it was important to get the balance right in drug policy because P “destroys lives”.
Radio New Zealand reported that serious dealers and people who sold P to children were still being prosecuted in the Waitemata policing district. Decisions about prosecuting low-level offenders was made on a case by case basis, Brown said.
Meth does destroy lives. Very few people ever get over it.
One thing is for certain, though, if you declare a war on something and then let politicians conduct that war, then you are going to lose it. If there really is a war on P then perhaps we should start looking to the Philippines for a solution…and nail the dealers hard.
– NZ Herald