Methamphetamine use remains problem

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Methamphetamine paraphernalia. PHOTO: NEW ZEALAND POLICE

by Chris Tobin

The use of methamphetamine in the Timaru district remains a problem, police say.

Aoraki area commander Inspector Dave Gaskin told the Timaru District Council recently that in the past 12 months use of the drug had remained on par with previous levels.

“But that level is still a concern, although comparatively with other communities we are extremely low.”

Police were monitoring drug use through testing via the waste water every two months. Testing found there had been no fentanyl use locally; cocaine use was low and results for MDMA (methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, a synthetic drug), known as the party drug, were negligible as well.

“Family harm over the Covid-19 lockdown did not eventuate into the expectations of a large increase with people being stuck at home.

“The forecast for increasing crime also appears to be incorrect.”

Mr Gaskin commented on the gang presence. Gangs were in communities for one purpose: to make money through dealing drugs.

Gang members were coming to the district looking for work and many were employed on dairy farms.

“Gangs in Timaru were established in early 1970s and are now ageing. Most gangs such as Mongrel Mob and Black Power don’t have the traditional headquarters and instead operate from houses.”

Crime levels, mainly shoplifting and burglaries, were high when there was a need for drugs, Mr Gaskin said.