30 November 2005
Safer alternatives lead to reduced demand for methamphetamine
The industry supplying safer legal alternatives to illegal drugs today welcomed the release of new research which it
said points to a reducing demand for methamphetamine.
Chair of the Social Tonics Association of New Zealand (STANZ), Matt Bowden, said the research showed a corresponding
relationship between the increased use of legal ‘party pills’ and an emerging glut in the market for methamphetamine.
“Despite increases in seizures from police, and increases in methamphetamine labs being busted, a good number of
methamphetamine users said that prices were coming down and availability is easy. This shows that demand is dropping
off,” he said.
Mr Bowden explained that the key indicators for supply and demand are the rise and fall of prices and availability.
“The drug economy is like any other - where you decrease supply without adjusting demand, the price goes up and quality
goes down, with an increasing public health risk.
“Where safer and legal alternatives are available, the demand for drugs like methamphetamine decreases, price slumps and
the product becomes increasingly easy to source.
“This is precisely what is happening now in New Zealand. Every time this survey’s respondents say they have used party
pills is a time they are not using dangerous illegal drugs, and this is a good thing.
“Given the huge harm that this survey shows methamphetamine is causing, anytime that somebody chooses a safer legal
alternative over drugs like P is a victory for public health.”
Mr Bowden said senior New Zealand police officers have also stated that the increased availability of legal party pills
is leading to a decrease in demand for the illegal drug ecstasy.
“What is happening here is simple supply and demand economics, with the result being a decrease in the public health
Mr Bowden said there were some worrying results in the survey – particularly a third of respondents saying they have
injected methamphetamine and the arrival of new ‘starter packs’ to encourage first time methamphetamine use.
“Another concern is the presence of PMA, a dangerous amphetamine derivative sometimes passed off as ecstasy. In other
places where PMA has been present, it has signaled the time for pill testing to become available to ensure drug users
are not inadvertently taking the substance.”
Mr Bowden said the report highlighted that New Zealand still had a considerable problem with the use of dangerous drugs
and that innovative new approaches to reducing demand were needed.