Tuesday, May 26, 2009

First do no harm

Dear me. Same old solutions trotted out again. This time by the Prime Minister no less.

Prime Minister John Key is proposing to combat the drug P by banning its main ingredient, pseudoephedrine, from use in over-the-counter cold and flu tablets.

He's been listening to New Zealand's premier drug-war proponent;

Methamphetamine consultant Mike Sabin said pseudoephedrine had been taken off shop shelves and made prescription-only in Oregon, which was now leading the United States in combating the drug.

"If you want to control meth, you've got to control pseudo - and getting rid of pseudo is the only way you can control it."

According to the US Department of Justice;

The distribution and abuse of methamphetamine, primarily Mexican ice methamphetamine, pose the greatest drug threat to the Oregon HIDTA [high intensity frug trafficking area] region. In August 2005 Oregon passed legislation requiring a doctor’s prescription for the purchase of cold and allergy medications that contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine; Oregon was the first state in the nation to enact such a requirement. This legislation significantly reduced local methamphetamine production but has not reduced the amount of metham-phetamine available in the state....

Methamphetamine availability will increase as Mexican DTOs [drug trafficking organisations] establish a stronger foothold in the methamphetamine market by supplying increasing amounts of Mexican ice methamphetamine. How-ever, methamphetamine production within the Oregon HIDTA region will continue to decrease. Outdoor and indoor marijuana production will rise in the near term. Thousands of acres of public lands in Oregon on which law enforcement policing is limited will enable Mexican DTOs to operate an increasing number of cannabis grow sites in rural,unpopulated areas with relative impunity. Additionally, Asian DTOs will most likely establish additional indoor cannabis grow operations within the Oregon HIDTA region to supply increasing demand for high-potency marijuana in the HIDTA region as well as in neighboring markets.

And another source reports;

Today, it’s undeniable that Oregon’s laws were hugely successful in one area: The meth labs that endangered children and created hidden toxic waste dumps in basements and backyards across the state have been all but eliminated.

As the officers indicate, however, that success has borne unintended consequences — thanks to a massive influx of meth supplied by Mexican drug cartels.

Interviews with numerous local law enforcement officials and several meth addiction counselors — as well as a pending federal meth case investigated by the Portland Tribune’s news partner, Fox News 12 — suggest that Oregon’s legislative changes contributed to a radical transformation in the underground meth economy, one that in some ways is making the problem even more difficult to fight.

“The labs are gone, but there’s more meth,” said a longtime Portland Police Bureau drug cop, Sgt. Brian Schmautz, who stressed that he was only speaking for himself, not the agency.

“I’m not saying (Oregon’s meth laws are) not a good thing,” he said. “But we shouldn’t be fooled and say we have less meth, or less meth-related crime.”

And if you think our isolation makes us invulnerable you are wrong. From NZ Customs;

Recent drug seizures by Customs indicate strongly that New Zealand's borders are under a three-pronged attack from the illicit drug trade.

The first attack is the emergence of New Zealand as a target of transnational drug trafficking syndicates, notably trafficking in Amphetamine Type Substances (ATS). Crystal methamphetamine ("ice") is becoming the drug of choice for drug traffickers, with more than 3kg intercepted at the border so far this year in four separate significant seizures. One of the interceptions led to a joint Police/Customs investigation team recovering an additional 7kgs of recently imported crystal methamphetamine.

The second attack is the use of New Zealand as a transit point for large drug shipments destined for the larger Australian market. This is particularly the case with cocaine arriving from South America. In the first four months of this year Customs seized more than 15kgs of cocaine in eight separate cases. Investigations showed it was all destined for Australia.

The third attack is the continuing increase in the amount of precursor substances being imported for methamphetamine production. In the first four months of this year more than 770,000 tablets, or powder equivalent, of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine-based substances were seized in 175 separate incidents. This compares to 830,000 tablets seized in 444 cases for the whole of 2003.

I repeat, first do no harm.


Shane Pleasance said...

Hmmm - cartel sounds like a good business to be in.

At least cartel wars will elevate the problem to such an extent that it will be necessary to increase laws and prohibition further. More law, more regulation, more powers to the police - more resources for the war on drugs - fewer liberties, more lives lost, greater fear, greater need for state...

Gosh, labour couldn't have done it better.

Anonymous said...

One way to get the economy moving eh?


Anonymous said...

All prohibition does is push people from less harmful drugs (which tend to be easier to police) to more harmful drugs. And the dealers shift from the less lethal to the more lethal. It is fueling a violent criminal enterprise which gets windfall profits anytime a major bust takes place. Each bust raises the prices and hence the profits making drug dealing even more profitable.

Drug wars are like socialism. The more of it you try the worse things get and the more you need just to stay where you are Eventually you have screwed things up so much that there is nothing you can do but wait for the collapse.

Anonymous said...

Lindsay, you should read up on Christines effort at
Christine has been waging this war for nearly three years well before Sabin,who has a commercial imperative and Holmes who has an ego trip.
Read about her efforts and find out who has influenced Power and Key.
No kudos for her yet but remember the fire works lady. Well this sweetie is just as determined and is now also the "p" issue spokesman for the Sensible Sentencing Trust.

Anonymous said...

Inside info. Most ingredients source from Asia and our Police & cstoms have been told not to pursue it as Pollies don't want to upset Asian sensitivities / trade.
Perhaps they want to ban pharmaceutical sales to help free trade with Asia - of illicit nature. And maybe there are some backhanders involved. Who is todays Mr Asia?

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