Inside New Zealand’s meth crisis

NZ Herald has a 40 minute documentary on the ongoing meth (P) epidemic:

Fighting the Demon

Inside New Zealand’s Meth Crisis

After failing to fix its 20-year methamphetamine crisis, New Zealand is gripped by the second wave of a devastating epidemic. The Herald spent six months with users, recovering addicts and those trying to save them.

In June 12, 2016 police seized almost 500kg of methamphetamine at a remote beach in Northland.

That single find, with a street value of $450 million, was bigger than the total seizures of the previous two years combined.

It signalled the beginning of a new wave of New Zealand’s meth epidemic.

For 20 years, law enforcement had fought to eradicate the drug and lost. Now meth is purer and more available than ever before.

Fighting the Demon is an unflinching investigation from deep within the crisis, created by a team of investigative reporters who spent six months in communities ravaged by meth.

In towns across the country, the journalists met users desperate for help, former addicts still struggling years after giving up and families forever ripped apart by the impact of the drug.

They followed law enforcement hunting traffickers, frontline police working to stop dealers and health professionals picking up the pieces left behind.

They found a country targeted by the world’s most sophisticated organised crime groups.

The meth they traffic is stronger than ever and shipments are growing larger. Ten years ago, 100kg was a record bust for law enforcement. Now, it’s almost routine.

And while smugglers once sent cold medicine to be “cooked” into meth, they now send the finished product. It’s easy to distribute, and easy to sell.

In many places meth is easier to buy than marijuana. Most users can score within an hour. Deals are brazen. The latest Illicit Drug Monitoring System report, from 2016, reported addicts more frequently buying on street corners, in parks, even at work.

The price of a point, around $100 for 0.1g, is unchanged from a decade ago. But where “P” was once a party drug for the middle classes, in this second wave, its victims are most likely to be the poor.

The documentary Fighting The Demon takes you inside their world.

In yesterday’s news (TVNZ): Four people charged as 22 kilos of meth and cocaine seized at Auckland Airport

Leave a comment


  1. NOEL

     /  7th May 2019

    For 20 years.
    Nah that would be 1999 at a time when Police and Customs were pleading with the pollies to upgrade from Class B2 to Class A to have more powers to deal with it.
    Eventually happened 5 years later.
    By which time it was well entrenched.

  2. Blazer

     /  7th May 2019

    so why are they not using these ‘powers’ now then!

  3. duperez

     /  7th May 2019

    Clearly, for generations we’ve been building a society which sees many dependent on alcohol, cannabis, methamphetamine, tobacco and other substances. Naturally fertile fields for the peddlers of such stuff.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  7th May 2019

      Tobacco came to England in the c.16, (Sir Walter Raleigh) I think, but I don’t know how long it had been around elsewhere. Alcohol’s been made for thousands of years.

      Amphetamines were over the counter in the 60s, I don’t know when they were banned. People used to be able to buy morphine and other drugs in chemists. No wonder so many people were addicted to opium products in the past. I loved being on morphine and would probably have been an addict then.

      There are sad cases in both real life and fiction of babies being given opiates, and in some cases becoming dependent and dying because they were doped up with ‘Godfrey’s Cordial.’

  4. david in aus

     /  7th May 2019

    The over-arching question is why are some societies more prone to chemical mind-altering drugs than others. Also, within society why are differing amounts of substance abuse. They are the demand drivers.

    When there is demand there will always be those willing to supply.

    I suspect it has become more prevalent in those with impulsive personalities and with cultural changes exemplified by the cult of the attainment of personal ‘happiness’ that has exploded since the rise of the Selfish Generation.

  1. Inside New Zealand’s meth crisis — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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