2 Sep 2010

Drug seizures pushing up price of 'P'

10:01 am on 2 September 2010

New research shows the street price of methamphetamine has risen sharply in recent years.

Massey University researchers found this out in the course of interviewing 315 frequent drug users throughout the country about their habits.

In 2006, the street price for a gram of methamphetamine, also known as 'P', was $610; last year it was $738.

The author of a paper on illegal drug use, Chris Wilkins, says large seizures by enforcement officers have driven the market price up.

Between 2004 and 2006 the amount of methamphetamine seized doubled from 61.5 kilograms to 121.9kg.

The amount of pseudoephedrine (a major ingredient in methamphetamine) seized increased even more dramatically, from 830,320 tablets in 2003 to 5,115,339 tablets last year.

Dr Wilkins says the success of seizures of methamphetamine, and the resulting price rise, means the 'P' epidemic may be waning.

However, he believes 'P' will not disappear completely from the New Zealand drug scene.

Acting national manager of crime services, Detective Inspector Paul Berry, says police and Customs are making a significant dent in the supply of the drug, and that in turn is affecting the price.

Drug dealers' greed could be pushing it up too, he adds.

The research also suggests LSD is making a comeback because the quality of Ecstasy is considered less reliable by drug users.