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

NZ's P supply rises, online drug-buying up

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 19/04/2016

New Zealand drug users are increasingly turning to the internet to score, while the availability of meth is surging, according to a new study.

Massey University's latest annual Illicit Drug Monitoring study has also found there may be some truth to a rumoured "cannabis drought" and that synthetic cannabis has fallen out of favour.

The research, which is based on interviews with 300 frequent illegal drug users, has found 76 per cent of those looking for methamphetamine, or P, in the New Zealand's main centres could find it within an hour in 2014, compared to 51 per cent in 2011.

Online buying of drugs was now more common, with 72 per cent saying they had increased their buying and selling of substances on encrypted sites and social media.

Virtually no users said they were using encrypted sites in 2011, but in 2014 37 per cent said they had given the online black market a go.

Technological advances presented a new problem for drug control, says senior researcher Chris Wilkins.

"Websites, like Nucleus and Alphabay, take this to a new level by offering enhanced anonymity via encryption and access to international drug markets selling a range of drug types not widely available in New Zealand."

A reported re-organisation of gangs and the earthquake rebuild were factors in the continued surge in meth supply.

Gangs were playing a bigger role, with half of users saying they were sourcing drugs from gang members, compared to 36 per cent only a year earlier.

But while meth use was on the up, synthetic cannabis has fallen in popularity since it was banned in 2014, the study found.

Users were reporting synthetics was significantly more difficult to find.

As for rumours of a "cannabis drought" in New Zealand, Dr Wilkins said there was some evidence to support the theory.

The proportion of drug users who said cannabis was very easy to find fell from 62 per cent in 2013 to just 45 per cent in 2014, with a modest decline in use also reported.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon