Topic: Health

Meth becoming more prevalent in the North

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes
  • Northland

Minister of Regional Economic Development Shane Jones says gangs responsible for the production of methamphetamine should be stripped of their assets and resources.

The statement follows the release of a Massey University drug report which says methamphetamine is more easily accessible than cannabis in New Zealand.

Shane Jones says, “Those cooking the P, those from Asia and the gangs, the way I see it we need to seize their financial assets, their property, their vehicles and their people.”

In Northland, one-third of respondents to the survey said they could buy the drug in 20 minutes or less.

Jones says, “This ghost is weighing down our families… and I know that those using P aren't the ones manufacturing P.  It's not hard to see when a family is being affected by P but I say for those who are manufacturing it, there's only one solution."

Northland communities have experienced an increasing presence of P, now the drug is second to alcohol as the primary reason for admission to the DHB's detox unit.

Northland DHB and NZ Police funded $3mil to deliver Te Ara Oranga - Methamphetamine Demand Reduction Strategy pilot programs.

Project Manager at Te Ara Oranga, Jewel Reti, says the aim of the program is,“to increase access to services for those who have meth-related issues and [show] that early intervention actually can help prevent people becoming so unwell that they are unable to care for themselves.”

Reti says support services need to continue to find funding to build capacity to be able to address these problems.

“There are certainly issues that are present in terms of rebuilding relationships, in terms of finding stable accommodation, in terms of helping the whānau member to develop skills to help them cope with addiction.”

Reti explains that better education around meth in Northland is crucial and that there needs to be custom approaches to help different areas and communities.