Monday, July 11, 2016

Gangs, Drugs & Money: Is New Zealand headed for another meth crisis?

When a life-long members of one of New Zealand's most notorious gangs stands in front of news cameras and says that New Zealand is well on the way for another epidemic of the drug "P" a.k.a methamphetamines, we should pay attention.  Gangs have been heavily involved in the manufacture and sale of drugs for as long as there have been gangs and drugs pretty much.  The members of Black Power who stood up publically to warn us of this impending crisis are the men on the front lines of the drug war.  They know what they are talking about.  The Drug Foundation of New Zealand, while still reluctant to call the increase in meth use an "epidemic," agree that use is increasing and are concerned that the problem isn't being reflected in the government statistics.  For those who don't know how the slow wheels of bureaucracy work, funding for drug treatment and other anti-drug programs are all based on those statistics, which presents a real possibility that not enough resources are being made available where they're most needed.

So, why would two life-members of a gang that profits, and profits large, from the sale of this drug come out and make these statements?  It's a bold move, and probably a fairly unpopular one with other members of Black Power, so I applaud these guys for their courage in taking a stand.  These men have seen the damage that meth use is doing to their communities and they are standing up and speaking out!

I don't think it's any coincidence that the increase in meth use comes at a time when homelessness is on the increase and poverty is at record levels.  For decades now, we have known about the correlation between poverty and increased levels of drug and alcohol use, so it comes as no surprise that meth use is on the up while the quality of life for low-income families is dropping like a lead balloon.  All the while, the NZ government sit on their hands and do nothing, dismissing the housing crisis, ignoring the homelessness problem, and pretending there is no meth epidemic.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying a change of government will magically fix these problems, but to do nothing, to refuse to take any action whatsoever is gross negligence in my opinion.  Will a different government do any better? I don't know, but I hope so.  In the meantime, I urge you, if you, or anyone you know is in the grip of meth addiction, don't be afraid to ask for help.  There are a number of organisations which can help and I will list as many of them as I can at the bottom of this post.

Ministry of Health Addiction Services Directory
Salvation Army Addiction Assistance - Help for Meth Addiction
Care NZ Drug and Alcohol Services
Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcohol & Drug Helpline: 0800 787 797
Youthline: 0800 376 633 or txt 234

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