You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Meth use common, Auckland study finds

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/03/2017
A Kiwi is on being held in the resort island of Phuket on a drug charge. © Getty Images A Kiwi is on being held in the resort island of Phuket on a drug charge.

A pilot study of Auckland's toilet and shower wastewater has revealed a high use of methamphetamine and hospital-grade pain killers by residents.

The Massey University funded study looked for signs of drugs in daily samples taken from Auckland's wastewater plants from May to July 2014.

The results released on Monday showed a high frequency "of methamphetamine, codeine, morphine and methadone in our largest city", study co-author associate professor Chris Wilkins said.

Amphetamine, MDMA, which is also known as ecstasy, and methylone, a common ecstasy substitute, were the next most prevalent drugs, he said.

While methamphetamine was found to be consistently used throughout the week, MDMA and methlyone were only detected on weekends, suggesting they were primarily used as party drugs, Prof Wilkins said.

He said it was not surprising methamphetamine was detected regularly during the week because it is a very addictive drug.

A quirk in the testing showed that while methamphetamine was found at similar levels in both Auckland water catchment areas, cocaine was only detected in one catchment.

He said this indicated raw cocaine had been dumped into the sewer rather than been consumed.

"The low level of cocaine consumption is consistent with the very low use and availability of cocaine as reported in our annual monitoring surveys," he said.

The release of the 2014 results comes after police announced last December they were beginning to analyse wastewater in Christchurch and Auckland's Rosedale treatment plant.

Scientists will test for methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, alpha PVP, MDMA and creatinine, which is used as the control.

Speaking at the time, Assistant Commissioner Bill Searle said the testing for illegal drugs was not traceable to individuals and will not result in criminal charges against residents.

However, it would allow authorities to design better treatment and enforcement strategies, he said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon