13 Oct 2010

Meth the problem, not pseudoephedrine - pharmacists

5:16 pm on 13 October 2010

Parliament has been told New Zealand has a methamphetamine problem, not a pseudoephedrine problem.

The Health Select Committee is hearing submissions on the Misuse of Drugs Act that will reclassify ephedrine and pseudoephedrine from a Class C to a Class B controlled drug.

The Pharmaceutical Society told the committee on Wednesday pseudoephedrine is only one of the pre-cursors to making methamphetamine, with the others including unregulated chemicals found in drain cleaners and matches.

Its chief pharmaceutical advisor, Euan Galloway, says people who buy alternative medicine to pseudoephedrine seldom buy it again because it is not as effective.

He says without pseudoephedrine people stay at home in bed because they do not feel as well, which does little for productivity.

Plumbing source

The Health Select Committee was also told on Wednesday it wants to outlaw the importing or supply of cannabis utensils it will have to ban plumbing pipes, because they can also be used to smoke the drug.

The Hemp Store Aotearoa told the committee utensils such as bongs and pipes reduce lung damage cannabis smoking causes.

Its manager, Chris Fowlie, says cannabis smokers also use less of the drug when smoked through utensils.

He says customers tell him they will continue to use cannabis without utensils but will use it in more harmful ways.

Mr Fowlie says they can also smoke through plumbing parts which meet all the definitions of a cannabis pipe.