Tuesday 30 April 2019

The Price of Meth

Back in 2011, New Zealand's drug warriors claimed a success in their war on methamphetamine. The price of meth had risen. 
The report shows the price of P has been steadily moving upwards since 2006, and remains high. The latest survey data shows the mean price of a gram of P is $768, up from $723 at the same time in 2010.

"However, this is not the time for sitting on our laurels. While the price of P has risen dramatically in Christchurch, we are seeing fluctuations around the country. While we are seeing progress, it's more important than ever for authorities to continue to be vigilant."

The nature of seizures at New Zealand's borders is continuing to change. Seizure levels of precursor chemicals, like ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, are down 44 per cent compared to the same time last year. In contrast, seizures of methamphetamine are rising. In the first nine of months of 2011, 23 kilograms of methamphetamine were seized at the border - nearly 95 per cent of the total seized during 2010.
At the time, I wondered how much of that increase was CPI and the GST increase. Sure, you don't pay GST on meth directly, but neither do meth dealers get to claim back the GST on any of their legally purchased inputs.

Whatever the case then, the Herald today reports that meth costs $500 per gram in Auckland and $600 per gram in Christchurch.

Maybe it would be even more prevalent if we again had easy access to pseudoephedrine over the counter, but it seems unlikely. It seems rather that drug dealers have figured out better ways of getting meth into the country.

If making meth out of pseudoephedrine got us to a price point per gram of about $700 in 2008, before the ban, it seems unlikely that anybody's going to go back to that way of making meth if their current supply methods get to a price point of $500-$600 per gram.

Can we please un-ban pseudoephedrine for over-the-counter purchase? The continued ban is just stupid.

Doesn't the government claim to have some wellbeing-based agenda? If that's about more than playing card games at Treasury and adopting trendy vocabulary, this seems an obvious cost-effective way of improving wellbeing. One line of regulation flipping pseudoephedrine out of Class B2 and back into its prior pharmacy-medicine status. Costs the government nothing and makes everyone with a cold a bit better off.

Update: A source in Christchurch who would know tells me that the quoted price in Christchurch is "way wrong Haha" - on the high side. Christchurch prices are lower than the Herald there quotes - though it notes those were the prices at the time of the survey. The earlier numbers come from a more comprehensive drug price survey; the Herald doesn't say where the researcher drew the more current price figures from.

No comments:

Post a Comment