In New Zealand It's Much Easier to Score Meth than Weed

And easier still if you're outside the country's main cities.

by Zahra Shahtahmasebi
06 November 2018, 10:54pm

Image via Shutterstock

Getting your hands on cannabis in New Zealand is way tougher than it should be for a country that loves its weed. But getting your hands on methamphetamine, new data reveals, is much easier.

Findings from a new study by researchers from Massey University’s SHORE and Whāriki Research Centre found 31 percent of New Zealand’s methamphetamine users were able to purchase the drug in 20 minutes or less, compared to just 14 percent of cannabis users. Furthermore, 54 percent of meth users said their access to the drug was “very easy”, compared to just 14 percent of weed smokers who said the same.

A total of 6100 people completed the anonymous online survey between November 2017 and February 2018. It found that methamphetamine was most readily available in Northland, Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, Waikato, Manawatu-Wanganui, the West Coast and Southland, but that across every region access to the Class-A drug was easier than cannabis.

In Northland, 65 percent of meth users surveyed said sourcing the drug was “very easy”, with 32 percent able to score within 20 minutes.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Chris Wilkins said the findings suggested a need to “further prioritise the priority on meth rather than cannabis.”

“This could include increasing access to help services for substance abuse problems for people living in the regions.”

Wilkins said the study raised serious questions concerning drug supply and policy settings regarding different drug types. “Is the higher availability of methamphetamine the result of an intentional strategy by drug dealers who are seeking to maximise profits by promoting the sale of a more addictive drug type with a higher profit margin? Does the current supply reduction strategy need to be refocused on methamphetamine rather than cannabis?”