Underestimate meth at your peril
Taking a stand over the growing problems with methamphetamine in the South is Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan.
THE ‘‘methamphetamine picture’’ that has rapidly evolved in the South Island over the last three years is horrific. Suicides have doubled since 2015, it’s harder to source marijuana than meth, and burglaries have spiked.
Wake up, these issues are all interwoven and the one commonality that stands out to me is the catalyst to this nightmare. The gangs!
We are so Mary Poppins down here that the gangs have been able to introduce this new sophistication to criminal activities right under our noses and, hugely, society remains anaesthetised to what they are up to.
For the last few months, I have been, in my own inept ways, trying to find out more about the changes I am seeing in my communities. So here’s a quick rundown of the key points I have found.
About three years ago, every ‘‘toy town tough’’ that was selling marijuana was given an offer they couldn’t refuse, and very quickly supply dried up. Then, timed to perfection, the void was filed with meth and the game changed forever.
From the gangs’ perspective it’s a great business plan. They are in control, as bucketloads more money can be made selling meth. The lid of a ‘‘pump bottle’’ can hold about $8000 worth, so you can move it around really easy and hide it even more easily. Police have an impossible task of trying to catch anyone ‘‘in possession’’.
Remember the helicopters full of seized marijuana plants? Now you could easily fit the same value of meth in a Dinky toy.
They are smart in the distribution network, predominantly searching out middleaged women with no criminal convictions to deal for them. One snag though: these women are often at the start of their own ‘‘meth journey’’ , and who could predict the outcome of a flush of money at the same time as you attempt to be the first person capable of resisting the scourge of addiction?
It never ends well. In a few weeks their behaviour becomes too erratic to trust, so the good old boys move on to the next entrepreneur, leaving our discarded dealer to contemplate how they are now going to fund their needs. Guess who can solve that for them?
I struggle to get too upset about the plight of the dealers. They give scant consideration to the misery they assisted in creating and whose lives are they are ruining?
Here’s the tricky part: who is affected? If you think it could be your kid, watch your grandmother, that young clown that just started work, no, look at your boss.
The one thing that will catch you out is thinking you can categorise involvement. The only thing that breaks the entirely random nature is that this poison has immersed itself right throughout society and eventually we will all be touched by this angel. I stress this point, because if anyone is that naive to think they are above this then all they have done is fail to protect their loved ones.
So what’s in store for any poor soul that will pay a ridiculously high price for one or two indiscretions? And that’s all that is needed to be snared, as 80% of females are addicted on their first hit and noone resists after three hits.
Eventually, their teeth will fall out, their faces get covered in scabs, they twitch and are erratic with huge mood swings. But that’s the internal dilemma as your finances and anyone that loves you enough to back you will be drained in a flash.
Your inner fortitude will be eroded to the point that you will steal, cheat and lie, always only focused on maintaining your habit. And pity help you when the inevitable arises and you can’t pay, because our misery merchants take nonpayment very seriously.
They put in place ‘‘payment programmes’’, which means for guys you will be forced to steal to order and thank your lucky stars you’re not a girl, because for females the instalments are of a totally different nature.
Understand this and then tell me of another dynamic that has entered our mainstream society in the last three years that could be distorting suicide and crime statistics.
This is a major new contributor that has hit the South Island so fast that society and our response mechanisms, have not had time to evolve.
I am in awe of our ‘‘blue knights’’ and the courage our police show every day. They are now confronted with volatile situations including guns, highspeed chases and a manic determination to avoid detection at levels never seen only a handful of years ago.
Basically, the sophistication of the criminality of the South Island has gone through a metamorphosis in recent years as North Island opportunists take part in this 21stcentury gold rush. This is an unprecedented, orchestrated and controlled event.
The game has tightened up and how have we supported our valiant upholders of law and order in the South? Abysmally!
In the North Island there is one police officer for every 528 people and in the South
Island that same ratio is one for every 608.
(This is based on official information figures I requested, and excluding
‘‘service centre’’ numbers).
Not to worry, we have all rejoiced in the announcement of 1800 new police officers. Well, not all is as hoped for Southerners. Take away the new officers classified as service centre (520), and the distribution of new officers to specific areas, has the remaining 1280 split with the North set to gain 1016 while the South gets 264.
Hold the bus. Based on the census 2013 figures that the
❛ I struggle to get too upset about the plight of the dealers. They give scant consideration to the misery they assisted in creating and whose lives are they are ruining?
official information response insisted on using, and that’s a ratio in the North Island of one new officer for every 2574 people while the South gets one for every 4006. Let me reiterate: I will support our police force to the hilt, but whoever worked this allocation out has us down as the sleepy South, and obviously oblivious to the gangs’ ‘‘payment programme’’.
We all have a moral obligation to stand up, right now, firstly, by being more aware. How do you protect your loved ones if your head remains in the sand? And secondly, we need to get behind our ‘‘blue knights’’ and resource them with more numbers as they are defending us in a lopsided battle that we cannot afford to give any more ground on.
Please, central government, up the new police numbers so that all of New Zealand is getting one new officer for every 2500 people and let’s resource the ‘‘Southern Blue Knights’’ so they can better defend us in this battle.
Methamphetamine is highly addictive.