Gangs rejoice as Pseudoephedrine is back

Written By: - Date published: 8:51 am, December 2nd, 2023 - 18 comments
Categories: act, crime, drugs, national, Social issues, uncategorized - Tags:

For a Government that hates gangs you would think that they would be more circumspect with policies that may enrich gangs and increase illicit drug use.  But this is exactly what the current Government is planning.

As part of its 100 day plan the Government intends to allow the sale of cold medication containing pseudoephedrine.

Methamphetamine had been available for decades.  In 2000 its use and the attendant human misery took off.

Shortly after that time the creation and detection of meth labs also took off as is shown by this graph recording convictions for illicit drug manufacture.  There is always a lag between detection and conviction but I am sure you can see the correlation.

Then in 2011 the National Government made Pseudoephedrine available through prescription only.

The substance was banned from general availability to stop gangs from establishing meth labs and cooking methamphetamine.  Before then thanks to local ingenuity and with enough pseudoephedrine and other substances the drug could be extracted and refined and sold for considerable profit.

Again when you look at the graph convictions started to drop rather dramatically a couple of years after that as the tail of cases wound their way through the court system.

Overall methamphetamine use continues to increase.  Importation is the dominant method of supply now.  I am sure the purist economist would announce the policy as a failure.

But returning pseudoephedrine to chemist shelves will only see the return of meth labs, a greater availability of the drug, more ram raids of chemist shops and greater misery and addiction.  Nothing seems clearer.  Opening up new means of creation of the drug will only make worse what is already a scourge to society.

The Gangs will be celebrating.  One new business opportunity will present itself as soon as the ban is in place.

And we will again see the sight of addicts going from chemist to chemist buying as much pseudoephedrine as they can manage.

You would think that the Government should at least open the topic for consultation and let experts comment on what the implications of the change are.  But this Government does not seem interested in listening to experts.

18 comments on “Gangs rejoice as Pseudoephedrine is back ”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    John Key must be gagging.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    But kool-aid catalyses big-picture thinking. Obviously they want to transform gang culture. Get the guys out of patches and into suits.

    You know what businessmen are like. It's an enterprise opportunity, so grab it. Rather than beating each other up all the time the gangsters follow the mafia trail & get legal.

  3. Stephen D 3

    You’ve gotta love the thinking this “government” is showing. On one hand they want to crack down on gangs, banning patches, and mokos. On the other hand let’s allow them to make meth, and give them AR15s.

    Joined up thinking seems beyond them.

  4. Chemists will be the new ramraid target. More tobacco = more dairies raided too. These crimes are too juicy for the media to ignore for long

  5. AB 5

    With the Nats, nothing is principled, everything is instrumental. Appearing concerned about ram raids and turning up to shroud-wave outside the shop of a murdered dairy owner gets you votes. Making pseudoephedrine available is a minor culture war victory (gets one back at the nanny state for telling you what OTC drugs you can have) and pleases employers by getting sick employees back to work quicker. Saying that making it harder for young people to buy cigarettes will increase ramraids (while pseudoephedrine availability curiously won't) gives you cover for using the tax revenue to justify tax cuts. It's also a culture war victory – an assertion that you shouldn't need the nanny state's help to stop smoking – just take personal responsibility because other people shouldn't have choices removed because of your personal failings.

    Principle-based arguments are totally ineffective against these people.

  6. Mike the Lefty 6

    National's stock argument would be that there were fewer convictions under the Labour administration not because there was less pseudoephedrine available, but because the police didn't catch the manufacturers and dealers – which obviously indicates that Labour were soft on crime.

    The problem is that some statistics, like these, can say whatever you want them to say and of course there would be plenty who would want to believe this line.

  7. Populuxe1 7

    Why would gangs take to knocking over pharmacies again, when the entire operation shifted post 2011 to rely on bulk black market pseudoephedrine from China? There's no point. For one thing it's extra effort for the gangs and invites even more police focus, and for another they would have to be knocking over hundreds of pharmacies every day to keep up with demand. It's basic business sense – the market continued to grow even as the pharmacy supply of pseud was cut off. Having invested heavily in infrastructure to get pseud from China to NZ via the Pacific Islands, they're hardly going to risk it all just to do some ram raids. The main reason convictions dropped off is because their supply lines are almost entirely self-contained and harder to pick up.

  8. Michael P 8

    Pseudoephedrine is yesterdays news apparently

    . There are new methods of manufacture now which are safer, easier and cheaper, using a variety of precursors other than ephedrine.

  9. adam 9

    So are we going to see drug addiction as a health issue, or will they keep trying to make money off it being treated like a crime?

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