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Meth use rising in police arrests

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 22/11/2016

Police are arresting fewer drinkers and cannabis users but more than a third are now taking or addicted to methamphetamine, according to a survey.

Massey University's 2015 New Zealand Arrestee Drug Use Monitoring Programme Report, funded by police, interviewed 835 detainees at four police watch houses and looked at nearly 200 urine samples.

The proportion of detainees who reported they had used cannabis in the previous year declined from 76 per cent in 2011 to 69 per cent in 2015.

The proportion who felt they were dependent on alcohol declined from 26 per cent in 2013 to 17 per cent.

The proportion who had been drinking prior to their arrest also declined from 41 per cent in 2013 to 28 per cent in 2015.

"However, the proportion of detainees who had used methamphetamine in the previous year increased from 28 per cent in 2012 to 36 per cent in 2015," said Deputy Police Commissioner Michael Clement.

The number who felt dependent on methamphetamine increased from 22 per cent in 2011 to 35 per cent.

Last month the government announced $15 million of money seized from criminals would be used to fight methamphetamine.

Mr Clement said that while some of that would mean a greater focus on treatment, more than $6.2m would go towards working with Chinese law enforcement agencies to interrupt smuggling operations from the south of the country.

Money would also be spent on more asset recovery and financial investigations, recovery of legal costs, and a joint initiative with the Northland DHB on reducing demand for methamphetamine.

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