How Widespread is the Methamphetamine Epidemic?

Published on:
October 10, 2022
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Recent Parliamentary documents published show the growing increase and trends in relation to Methamphetamine use based on the 2019/2020 NZ Health Survey:

  • 1.1 % of the population, 45,000 adults, used amphetamine in the last 12 months. (Methamphetamine is the
    most commonly used)
  • Convictions for methamphetamine possession/use increased from 1,220 in 2011 to 3,404 in 2020.
  • Convictions for methamphetamine dealing & trafficking increased from 953 in 2010 to 1,566 in 2020.
  • Methamphetamine was an underlying or contributory cause of 95 deaths in 2016,

NZ Police & Customs Methamphetamine seizure statistics show that 3kg seized in 2003 rose to 941kg in 2016. Meth to the value of $30 million was intercepted at the borders in 2016 rising to $250 million in 2018

The NZ Police National Wastewater Testing Programme results for the second quarter of 2020 showed that over the April to June 2020 period:

An average of 9.9 kgs of methamphetamine was consumed per week nationally.

The Bay of Plenty, Eastern and Northland police districts had the highest per-capita methamphetamine use. In a targeted Police operation carried out in Kawerau Police found 600 active Meth users in a community of 6,000 people.

The results showed an overwhelming dominance of methamphetamine with nationwide use equating to $1 billion a year and an estimated $20 million per week in social harm.

In The New Zealand Illicit Drug Harm Index 2020: Research report the total cost of personal harm to people who use drugs in New Zealand is now estimated at $813.1 million, with most of that cost relating to premature death at $484.8 million. Of the illicit drugs included, methamphetamine caused the most harm at $404.5 million. 016 An increase from 2016 in reported deaths from 75 to 107.

Fast forward to 2022 –these stats will have only increased and doesn’t include the cost of harm to businesses.

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