Drug use rise in Central spurs reminder to be vigilant

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An increase in the incidence of methamphetamine in Central Otago is concerning and the community needs to remain vigilant as police tackle the issue, Sergeant Derek Ealson, of Alexandra, says.

Precise figures for Central Otago were not available but police had noticed a marked increase in meth use over the past year, he said.

As well as the damage drugs did to individuals and families, the associated offending was also an issue, and police were determined to keep working to tackle the drug problem, he said.

Families and employers should look out for signs of meth use, including changes in behaviour as meth users often became irrational, paranoid and volatile.

They would also often remain awake for long periods of time and then “crash”.

People should also look out for drug paraphernalia, such as cut straws, glass pipes or light bulbs, or layers of tinfoil or indented aluminium cans.

Sgt Ealson said the prevalence of meth in the community meant it was more accessible, and there was also a strong link between drug use and organised crime.

Other drugs such as ecstasy, cannabis and party pills were also present in the community, and sometimes being used at parties attended by school-aged teenagers, he said.

The dangers of excessive alcohol use and teenage drinking also remained significant, and alcohol abuse was viewed by many as the biggest drug problem in society, Sgt Ealson said.

He urged parents to keep talking to their children about the dangers of drugs, and said employers should remain vigilant, too. Police in Central Otago were continuing their work with various groups and sectors of the community to raise awareness, he said.

He encouraged parents to inform themselves about the issue and said there was information available online or through police.

His comments come after two drug-related arrests were made in the Clyde district earlier this month, and a recent Government announcement of an extra $15million for anti-drug initiatives.

The Government funding includes extra money to tackle the flow of meth into New Zealand from the Americas and Asia, and to get more intelligence on overseas gangs importing the drug.

Equipment used to sell drugs was found at a Clyde home earlier this month in a search sparked by methamphetamine worth up to $14,000 being intercepted by Customs.

A 22-year-old Clyde man has been charged with importing methamphetamine and possession for supply, and with cultivating cannabis, and a 28-year-old Clyde woman has been charged with cultivating cannabis.

GETTING HELP:

For information and support, visit or contact:

– www.drugfoundation.org.nz/

– www.drughelp.org.nz/

– www.police.govt.nz/advice/drugs-and-alcohol/drugs-and-alcohol-getting-help

– Alcohol.org.nz

– The Alcohol Drug Helpline on 800 787-797