So almost 10 years ago, the National Government announced its ‘WAR ON P’.
Since then, usage rates have remained exactly the same, arrests have gone way up and things are actually getting worse.
Who would have thought? Why does this happen?
When meth first hit the scene, I was there. This was in the early 2000’s. All the gangs switched to making it or selling it and it became difficult to source other drugs. Many non gang sources did the same.
LSD, speed, oil, hash, ecstasy, ketamine, all those fun drugs which used properly, respectfully and by knowledgeable adults, can lead to a great night in, a night out out or ‘into the within’, disappeared. Cannabis was still plentiful but it became harder to get all those other things, and easier to buy meth. While its always been hard to get things like cocaine in NZ, the white powder of meth was easy. Its a shame its such a shit drug.
And the supply of that shit drug was endless, the demand grew with it. People have always used drugs and always will. People use the drugs they’re able to get ahold of. Whether it be a can of flyspray (cheap but not recommended) or a bag of meth.
When John Key announced the ‘War on P’ in 2009, I’d long ago left that world behind. But I knew what it would mean for those involved. Dollar signs.
The further the government tried to crack down on the supply of meth, the greater the demand for it and the more lucrative it would become, and the more addicts would be pushed into the inexorable meth madness thats has been created.
So whats the solution then Maxy boy? Pretty simple really. Make better alternatives available. Make all the alternatives available. The advertising exec in the RNZ story won’t be buying mth when they can go and buy coke. Poorer users will buy a cheaper high, one that won’t shit them out as bad as meth will. But still if people want meth, it can be for sale alongside everything else, sold by a pharmacist/retailer with detailed knowledge of the drugs and with information given on usage, treatment options, counselling etc etc.
Tax it. Just like we do with alcohol. Not ludicrously like we do with cigarettes. Use the proceeds to fund treatment, counselling, education and studies.
But if its legal then everyone will have access and everyone will do it? That first part is correct, just as it is correct right now. Its easier for a 16 year old to go and buy meth than it is to buy alcohol. But eventually if they want either they’ll get ahold of it. But the everyone will do it part? Not so much.
People that want to use drugs, will use them. The trick is, helping them to make the best decisions whilst they do so, and to minimise the harm to themselves, the community and society.
Its time to end the ‘War on P’, and the ‘War on Drugs’. Both have cost us billions and done nothing but destroy lives. I’d love to have an alternative catchy name like the ‘Peace on People’ but it doesn’t quite fit.
Its time we started doing what experts have recommended and what studies conform to be in our best interest. To be spending money on helping, not harming people.