As a parent, are you OK with this approach using YOUR tax dollars?

The New Zealand Herald story regarding the promotion of “10 ways to keep well if using meth by Massey High School is an example of how we, as a society in New Zealand have missed the boat when it comes to drug education.

This is why we, as a society need to do something drastic to eliminate Meth harm in New Zealand. Relying in the Government and its quasi agencies is not the answer.

The taxpayer funded New Zealand Drug Foundation has pushed the “harm minimisation” approach for at least the last decade. The theory is flawed and dangerous, particularly when discussing Methamphetamine. Meth is the most addictive drug. It is impossible to use the drug in a safe way.

Any program that promotes or advocate his theory is irresponsible at best.

Methcon’s approach is one of “Harm Elimination”. We believe that the bar needs to be set high and that the best way to avoid Meth harm is to not use at all.

We are starting a nationwide series of public seminars in Northland next month which provide families and the public with advice and information based on reality; not the liberal waffle permeating from the Drug Foundation.

Parents have been left shocked after their children have brought home a school pamphlet on how to use meth “discreetly”.

Auckland’s Massey High School distributed the “information notice” to Level 3 health students they say was provided by the Ministry of Health.

The pamphlet, which can also be found on a website called, features 10 “keeping well” tips for using meth.

“When taking meth eat something every 4 to 5 hours, drink more water than normal..

“If using a gas pipe, clean the inside regularly to remove butt residue which could be inhaled.”

The final tip and most shocking reads: “meth is illegal, it’s also illegal to own a pipe. Be discrete (sic) and only keep 5 grams for personal use.”

A concerned parent posted a photo of the pamphlet to a community Facebook page but the post was quickly removed.

Massey High School released a statement today saying the material was taken out of context of a larger book.

“The material published on social media is one of many resources available to the students for their investigation and analysis.

The pamphlet features 10 “keeping well” tips for using meth.

A concerned parent posted a photo of the pamphlet to a community Facebook page.

“It is not explicitly taught to the students. However, when taken in context of the rest of the booklet, which is aimed at current users who are looking at ways to stop, the dangers of using methamphetamine are apparent.”

The statement said Massey High School did not condone illegal drug use, drugs on the school campus, nor does it teach its pupils how to use drug instruments.

The school has also responded to a concerned parent via Facebook saying it is aware of the notice and is dealing with it.

“It is a document which is provided from the Ministry of Health, for public distribution. It is used in our Level 3 Health classes, where they are dealing with a health issue in NZ,” a Massey High School spokesperson said via Facebook messenger.

A Massey High School spokesperson confirmed this saying “the material can also be found online and is part of ‘Drug Help’, specifically here, a NZ Drug Foundation programme that is fully funded by the Ministry of Health.”

The school said it had discussed this information with the parent, who has subsequently removed her post. However, it has been shared by others not privy to our discussion.”

The Herald has approached the school for further comment and is awaiting a response from the principal.

New Zealand Herald 02/05/2018

This is the page in question.

10 ways to keep well if using meth

Using meth is a risk to your physical and mental health. That said, most of the harm comes not from meth itself but from the stupid stuff people do, or don’t do, when they’re on meth.

  1. When taking meth, eat something every 4 or 5 hours; drink more water than normal; and if you’ve been awake longer than 24 hours, have a break and relax for a while.
  2. Brush your teeth after eating food or drinking sweet drinks.
  3. You can’t sleep on meth; if you want to sleep later don’t use it after 3pm.
  4. Avoid mixing meth with other drugs or medications, especially hallucinogens and antidepressants. It’s hard to predict how one affects another in your system.
  5. Protect yourself from HIV and STIs. Meth can make you really horny and a bigger risk taker at the same time.
  6. Swallowing meth allows your body to use its own filters. It saves your lungs from damage, produces a smoother and longer lasting high, and you’re less likely to use more.
  7. If using a glass pipe, clean the inside regularly to remove burnt residue which could be inhaled.
  8. Glass pipes become brittle and get super hot. Be careful with it to avoid burns or cuts, and use a Pyrex pipe if possible.
  9. Injecting meth is risky. It requires experience to reduce the chance of abscesses, collapsed veins, and infections like Hepatitis C or HIV. If you plan to inject, always use a new needle and avoid sharing any equipment. There are needle exchanges throughout New Zealand.
  10. Meth is illegal. It’s also illegal to own a pipe. Be discreet and only keep less than 5 grams for personal use.

The ‘meth babies’ have grown up

Te Tai Tokerau Principals Association president Pat Newman has raised the issue of the insidious effects on children and families as a result of the Methamphetamine epidemic that New Zealand has been in the grips of since the late 1990’s.

Pat Newman is telling it like it is.

The Methamphetamine epidemic is inter-generational. In the 2000’s, when working with midwives throughout the country, we would be told about the “Meth Babies” that they would be dealing with on a constant basis. This was consistent with my experience in the Police during that time where we would regularly deal with situations where children were present in meth labs and living with adults that were using and dealing the drug.

The “Meth babies” are now the “meth kids, tweens and teenagers” and the problems have simply escalated.

We need to recognise that Methamphetamine is not a “fad”. It is fully entrenched in our society and we need to take a long term pro active approach to eliminating demand for the drug.

Methcon is starting a nationwide campaign of public presentations in Northland in June. The aim is to provide real and accurate education to families and the public. Relying on the Government to fix this is pointless and we want to help to change the drug culture in New Zealand.

P use is likely harming children in every classroom in Northland, a leading principal says.

Te Tai Tokerau Principals Association president Pat Newman says rampant use of methamphetamine in the north was affecting so many families it had become a major concern at schools.

“I would doubt there is a class in Northland that doesn’t have a child that is somehow affected through P,” he told Newstalk ZB’s Early Edition today.

“That could be, at the very worst, living in a house where it is manufactured and breathing in the fumes, through to parents using the money for [drugs] that should be on food, to seeing violence that goes with P.”

“The authorities will tell you it is probably easier to get your hands on P than it is on marijuana in the north.”

The prevalence of P has also been highlighted in a report published this week in the Royal Society of New Zealand’s social sciences journal.

It looked at 578 children affected by their parents’ drug use and found substance abuse was the number one cause for some children living with their grandparents.

Such children only had “often sporadic and unsatisfactory” with their parents, many of whom had died, gone to prison or moved away.

And 14 per cent of grandparents said one or more of the children in their care had assaulted them physically.

“In most cases, the child appeared to lose control of their responses,” the report said.
Newman said that as more children came to school affected by P, teachers were finding students exhibiting “all sorts of behaviours”.

“Usually it is delayed developmental, so your 5-year-old is not ready to go into a classroom,” he said.

He said Northland schools and agencies were used to “getting very little help” to combat drug use and ultimately the community needed to take responsibility for the issue, including by reporting P use so agencies could tackle the problem.

“We’ve had children removed from homes because of the P use in the home and I think it’s the community that needs to say, ‘look, we own this problem’,” Newman said.

“It is too big for schools to do it on their own, it’s too big for agencies to do it on their own, it has to be the community that turns around and says enough is enough.”

New Zealand Herald 01/05/2018

‘P’ (as opposed to Pee) found in high levels in Whangarei wastewater

High levels of methamphetamine have been found in Whangarei’s wastewater treatment plant.

What does this mean?

Methamphetamine, MDMA/Ecstasy and cocaine have been found in the wastewater since monthly testing began in August.

Until now, reliable data about illegal drug use has been difficult to obtain. Wastewater testing provides a cost-effective, timely, non-intrusive and accurate measure of illegal drug use.

The testing and the Rataora Trial are programmes within Te Ara Oranga, providing evidence-based data about illegal drug use in Whangarei.

Police and health officials are working together in Northland to reduce methamphetamine demand by improving treatment services and increasing responsiveness.

Wastewater testing in Whangarei started in August and data was collected from the wastewater facilities for one week every month.

“The results indicate a high incidence of methamphetamine in the Whangarei wastewater,” said Superintendent Russell Le Prou.

He said the wastewater results will provide an ongoing baseline of data to inform and measure both treatment and enforcement.

For example, he said, wastewater could be tested after a major police seizure of meth and a lower level would show the operation was successful.

“If no impact is seen it may indicate that further investigation is needed into methamphetamine supply.”

Drugs are processed by the body into other compounds which make their way into the wastewater system.

Rataora is a screening and referral to treatment that gives an indication of the number of people using methamphetamine.

The trial was implemented within the Whangarei Hospital Emergency Department and the NZ Police Whangarei Custody suite, 24/7 over a one week period.

In the Emergency Department 350 patients were screened for substance use and 70 were referred to specialist services such as mental health and addiction, smoking cessation, the Alcohol Drug Helpline and Depression Line. A further 12 people were referred to their GP and another six people were given a brief intervention by a psychologist or at ED.

Four methamphetamine users were identified during the week of screening. If the screening was done for an entire year, about 200 methamphetamine users would be identified.

New Zealand Herald 28/11/2017

Wastewater testing is an excellent way to gauge drug use in the community as in effect it is a ‘random’ and ‘honest’ testing procedure.

Previously, drug use statistics have relied on Police arrest data and anecdotal evidence from treatment providers and academics. The problem with this of course is that drug users tend to be somewhat economical with the truth due to the illegal nature of drug use.

The level of Meth and other class A drugs found in the Whangarei test further emphasises the widespread use of these drugs in regional areas and mirrors the increase in Class A drug convictions in Whangarei from 107 in 2007 to 417 in 2016! Most other regions in New Zealand have seen similar increases.

Demand for Meth continues to increase despite all the talking from politicians and well meaning community groups, and the large seizures of the drug by Police and Customs in recent times.

Reducing demand through education is the best way to stop use before it starts. Its time to get serious and acknowledge that what we have done hasn’t worked.

SME’s running serious risks by not taking drug and alcohol policy seriously

Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s), which are classed as having up to 20 employees are extremely vital part of the New Zealand economy.

According to the latest data from Statistics New Zealand, they account for:

  • 97 per cent (487,602) of all enterprises
  • 29 per cent (599,880) of all employees
  • an estimated 26 per cent of New Zealand’s Gross Domestic Product.

All businesses, whatever the size are obliged to comply with the rules and regulations governing how they operate. This includes things such as:

  • Taxation
  • Reporting and compliance
  • Governance
  • Law
  • And of course Health and Safety.

Having spent the last decade involved in providing drug awareness education to predominately larger companies and government agencies, it clear that these organisations by and large, have embraced the concept and realise that sound Health and Safety policy includes ensuring that the workplace is free from drug and alcohol harm. It is clear that not only is this required by law, but it creates a culture of safety, excellence and ultimately success. It is no coincidence that the most successful companies also tend to have the best safety records. The number of incident free days is often worn as a badge of honour by staff. This increases productivity and ultimately the bottom line. Makes perfect sense.

These organisations generally utilise a three pronged approach to drug and alcohol safety comprising

  1. A sound and up to date drug and alcohol policy with strong “buy in” from staff and management.
  2. Providing good quality Education regarding the policy and general drug awareness training and
  3. Drug testing systems and procedures which form part of the policy. SME’s on the other hand, in my experience tend to take a more “She’ll be right” attitude towards drugs and alcohol and the safety risks associated, in fact very few small business’s in my experience have a drug and alcohol policy at all, and if they do it is unlikely that employees are aware of it.

This, in my opinion exposes the business to a number of risk factors including:

  • Creating a market perception as an easy touch amongst potential employees
  • Decreased productivity
  • Increased risk of theft and shrinkage
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Greater risk of workplace accident and therefore injury and death.
  • Increased risk to criminal and civil liability in the event of a workplace accident. This is a Huge risk!

It is important that we raise the bar with SME’s when it comes to drug and alcohol policy and issues by creating awareness amongst the sector that drug and alcohol policy and management is just (if not more so) important as wearing eye and ear protection, safety clothing and cones!

To do this we need to remove barriers, in particular costs associated with implementing sound drug and alcohol policy and education with cost effective policy creation and online training solutions so that all employees are on a level playing field.