Twin police shootings raise questions over NZ's meth addiction

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Police say the shooting of two men this week had one thing in common – both men were meth users.

An addiction expert claims Kiwis are some of the most frequent meth users in the world.
Source: 1 NEWS

The shootings, in Hamilton and Rotorua, have brought into question the Government's plan to tackle the drug.

The Police Association and addiction experts believe more people maybe using meth, and say the Government's figures are out of date.

"The evidence of recent seizures the evidence of P houses and now the number of young men in particular whose behaviour is clearly influenced by methamphetamine is good evidence that we have a major methamphetamine problem in new Zealand," Police Association president Greg O'Connor said.

The United Nations also claims New Zealanders are some of the highest methamphetamine users in the world.

According to the New Zealand Government use peaked in 2003, but has now crashed to one per cent or 40,000 people.

However, the last survey was in 2013.

"Right throughout the country there have been significant increases of people seeking assistance for meth addiction," National Addictions Workforce's Dr Vanessa Caldwell said.

"We are doing the best we can with the resources we've got but clearer there's a huge demand that we're not able to meet."

Ross Bell of the Drug Foundation said the organisation gets most of its funding from the Government and believes the work the sector is doing is effective.

"I think we're seeing problems in provincial New Zealand, but if you look at the nature of the supply of the market, it's no longer that we're cooking up meth in New Zealand we’re seeing a lot of seizures of raw product coming across the border," he said.

Prime Minister John Key introduced a meth action plane when he came to power, and now Mr Key is expected to take another look at the scheme with a greater focus on customs and police.

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