Government considers crackdown on 'P' ingredient

By bananaskin · May 26, 2009 ·
  1. bananaskin
    The Government is examining a raft of measures to crack down on the use of the illegal drug, methamphetamine, or "P".

    Prime Minister John Key says his office is co-ordinating work in several areas to address what he says is a $1.5 billion problem.

    Mr Key says he will ask newly-appointed chief scientific adviser Peter Gluckman to look at whether New Zealand can eliminate the precursor drug pseudoephedrine.

    Drug educator Mike Sabin says such a move would be a very effective in combating methamphetamine use and there are alternatives to pseudoephedrine for medication.

    Professor Gluckman says he will treat the matter with urgency but that it is inappropriate to comment before starting research.

    Mr Key says ways are being examined to reduce the amount of precursors entering New Zealand and the Government is also likely to provide more funding for treatment programmes.

    Manukau City Mayor Len Brown believes there is already enough evidence to enforce a total ban on cold and flu medicines containing pseudoephedrine.

    In April, Mr Brown asked South Auckland chemists to stop selling them voluntarily. He says there is already a clear link between the manufacture of methamphetamine and the tablets. However, Mr Brown says he understands Mr Key's caution.

    But Labour Party leader Phil Goff says ordinary New Zealanders should not be denied the use of pseudoephedrine medication because of illegal drug activity.

    Mr Goff says other options, including making the pills prescription only should be used instead, as it would be easier than imposing an outright ban.

    The Pharmacy Guild says most outlets already exercise considerable control over sales.

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