Half can score meth in 20mins

The percentage of how quickly those interviewed could buy drugs in Christchurch in 2015

Meth – one hour: 13 per cent, less than 20min: 46 per cent

Cannabis – one hour: 21 per cent, less than 20min: 49 per cent

Ecstasy – one hour: 21 per cent, less than 20min: 21 per cent

The average cost of drugs in Christchurch in 2015

Meth – point: $126, gram: $822

Cannabis – tinny: $21, ounce: $339, pound: $4054

Synthetic cannibinoids – gram: $18

Ecstasy – one pill: $46


It is white, addictive, and becoming easier to get.

Latest data shows that of those arrested by police in Christchurch, 46 per cent can score methamphetamine within 20 minutes.

Meth, crack, P, ice, crystal meth – whatever you call it, there is a growing trend of people using it in the city.

That is what the New Zealand Arrestee Drug Use Monitoring’s latest study has shown.

The study, conducted by Massey University and funded by New Zealand Police, involved interviewing 800 people who were arrested in Whangarei, and Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch central police stations.

DRUG HAUL: About $40 million worth of methamphetamine smuggled inside a shipment of marble tables. PHOTO / FILE

It compared drug use from 2010-2015.

Eighty-six per cent of those interviewed between March and August last year were males.

In Christchurch, the number of those who had used meth in the past year had increased steadily from 20 per cent in 2012, to 33 per cent in 2015.

It showed meth was easier to get now.

Forty three per cent said it was easier to purchase in 2014, compared to six per cent in 2011.

In 2015, 76 per cent could buy meth in an hour or less, while in 2011, 31 per cent could. Forty-six per cent said they could in less than 20mins.

The study said reasons for the rising meth use were the influx of construction workers, post-earthquake stress and growing meth supply by gangs.

It said police had seen a re-organisation of the gang scene in the city, which in turn was facilitating greater meth supply.

Sociology Professor Greg Newbold said meth had become more “trendy”.

He said there had been a big influx of motorcycle gangs to Christchurch over the last five years, which could have contributed to the greater availability of it.

Professor Greg Newbold

Professor Newbold said meth had always been more expensive in Christchurch, because it used to be manufactured in Auckland and brought down.

However, more people wanted the drug now, so supply and demand pushed the price up.

“It’s not just constructions workers, it’s lots of young, single men coming into Christchurch. That’s the demographic that’s more likely to use meth.”

Ritalin, which is prescribed for ADHD, was another drug more young people were using because it had a similar effect to meth, and it was cheaper to get, he said.

In 2012, only eight per cent of those interviewed in Christchurch attributed their substance use problems to meth, while last year, 26 per cent did.

The average age of them trying it for the first time was 22.

The cost of the drug had also gone down in the city. In 2014, the price of a gram was $1120, while last year the average cost dropped to $822.

However, that was still the most expensive in the country, followed by $636 in Auckland.

A point of meth, which is between one tenth and three tenths of a gram, costed $126 in Christchurch last year.

However, Detective Inspector Darryl Sweeney said since the survey came out, the cost of meth had gone back up.

He said a number of police interventions had caused the price to rise, and it often fluctuated.

Ecstasy use had also risen in the city, jumping 10 percent, from 14 two years ago, to 24 last year.

Forty-seven per cent had tried the drug in 2010, compared to 62 per cent last year. That was the highest in the country.

It was easy to buy with 21 per cent saying they could do so in less than 20mins.

The average age of those first trying it was 19-years-old. One pill would cost about $46, whereas in 2010, it was $58.

ABUSE: Methamphetamine pure crystals (also known as “P”) being heated in a glass pipe during a controlled demonstration. PHOTO / FILE

The study said this could reflect the influx of construction workers, with some possibly coming from countries where the drug was more widely available.

Although ecstasy use had risen in Christchurch, nationally it had decreased by nine per cent.

The statistics on cannabis showed a different trend. The cost of it was going up, with less people smoking it.

The average price of an ounce went up from $316 in 2012, to $339 in 2015. A tinny costs $21 while a pound was about $4054 – up from $3414 the year before.

The proportion of those interviewed in Christchurch who had used cannibas in the past year had declined from 79 per cent in 2011, to 66 per cent last year.

The research suggested the use may have gone down because synthetic cannabinoids were available.

Professor Newbold said the decrease in people using it could be a result of manufacturers focusing on meth, rather than cannabis because there was more money in it.

He said at this time of the year there was usually a “weed drought” because the crops were not ready until late February.

In Christchurch, 23 per cent said they had substance using problems because of synthetic cannabinoids, compared to 12 per cent two years prior.

Since it was banned in 2014, the use was higher than in other city’s.

As a result, the price of a gram had gone up to $18, compared with $9 in 2014, and $11 in 2013.

Cocaine use was very low because it was difficult to get, although it was becoming more common in recent years.

Of the seven interviewees who could provide a price in 2015, they said a gram would cost about $366.

Those interviewed in Christchurch were more likely to be employed than in other city’s.