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New Zealand - Article: 'Ban only way' to halt meth makers (NZ)

Discussion in 'Drug Policy Reform & Narco Politics' started by ~lostgurl~, Jan 7, 2007.

  1. ~lostgurl~

    ~lostgurl~ Platinum Member & Advisor Donating Member

    Reputation Points:
    Dec 23, 2004
    from Australia
    ‘Ban only way’ to halt meth makers

    The Gisborne Herald
    by Nicola Brennan

    Saturday, 6 January, 2007

    AN electronic sales monitoring system for pharmacies to stop cold and flu medications being used to manufacture methamphetamine is not the answer . . . banning the drug is, says one Gisborne pharmacist.
    Police have announced a plan to investigate the use of an electronic sales monitoring system, based on an Australian model, that allows pharmacies to share information about pseudoephedrine sales.
    While Gisborne pharmacist David Moore agrees it is a good idea, he said a simpler answer was for the Government to deregister the drug . . . something he believes should have been done at least five years ago.
    Mr Moore said while it was obviously not going to stop the whole problem of people using the drug to manufacture methamphetamine or "P", it should be part of a bigger solution.
    The value of P in the New Zealand market is thought to be more than $160 million a year.
    Mr Moore was one of a group of Gisborne pharmacists who made the decision not to stock products containing pseudoephedrine in August 2006.
    There is now only one pharmacy in Gisborne which stocks such products.
    They also have a fax alert system, which they put into place to alert other pharmacies if they suspect a customer is misusing pseudoephedrine or other drugs.
    This system is similar to the one police are looking to introduce nationwide.
    Although the fax system worked to some extent, Mr Moore said it was very hard to tell the genuine customers apart from the non-genuine ones.
    Therefore, it was easier to not stock the product in the first place.
    There were now a variety of other drugs on the market which had similar effects, but did not contain pseudoephedrine.
    Mr Moore said many pharmacies across the North Island had taken similar steps, including those in Rotorua. However, South Island pharmacies had been slower off the mark.
    "I think as more and more alternatives come on the market to sell, it will be easier for pharmacies to make that decision."
    Police National Drugs Intelligence Bureau spokesman Alun Newton told The Press that an electronic system was probably 18 months away, as issues such as privacy, funding and pharmacy involvement still needed to be dealt with.
    The technology already existed and it was probably just a matter of pharmacies having broadband links.
    "What we have a problem with is the person who goes from pharmacy A to pharmacy B and C buying the drugs," he said.
    "The system would allow pharmacy A to look at sales and see something might not be right and question the person.
    "By the time of the third or fourth sale, the decision will be able to be made about handing out the drugs."
    Gisborne police’s Operation Pod in 2003-2004 resulted in the arrest of 13 P dealers, while another P lab was closed down at Muriwai last June.