Kiwis swap weed for P and E
Ecstasy tablets (Reuters)
While methamphetamine use has declined notably in New Zealand in recent years, it still has one of the highest amphetamine-type drug use rates in the world, a UN report says.
The report by the UN's Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) also warns that organised criminal groups will continue to target New Zealand to export and distribute methamphetamine and pseudoephedrine-based medicines from East and Southeast Asia, especially China.
But it adds that there has been a decline in cannabis use in New Zealand among young people, which was put down to a growing awareness of the health risks related to smoking, and a preference for new stimulant drugs such as amphetamine and ecstasy.
The report, released this week, says Vietnamese criminal gangs are set to play an increasing role in the indoor cultivation of cannabis that will increase the supply and availability of higher potency cannabis in New Zealand.
Australia and New Zealand, as well as much of Asia, are now targeted by drugs traffickers from southern Africa and Iran, who are mainly dealing in methamphetamines.