TITLE

TRACKING THE AVAILABILITY OF DRUGS IN NEW ZEALAND: IMPLICATIONS FOR POLICY RESPONSE

AUTHOR(S)
Wilkins, Chris; Sweetsur, Paul
PUB. DATE
July 2008
SOURCE
Social Policy Journal of New Zealand;Jul2008, Issue 34, p163
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Drug use imposes a range of health and social costs on New Zealand society. Measures of the availability of drugs are important for understanding levels of drug use and changes in drug use over time. Policy makers can directly affect levels of drug availability through a range of policy tools, including age restrictions, vendor regulation, varying levels of enforcement, and changing the legal classification of drug types. This paper presents population-level data on the current availability, and recent change in availability, of the 11 most commonly used drug types in New Zealand. Alcohol, tobacco and BZP/TFMPP party pills (i.e. the legally available drugs) were found to be by far the easiest drug types to obtain. Cannabis was the most easily available illegal drug, although it was much less available than the legal drugs. Cannabis was assessed by last-year users to be relatively more difficult to obtain in 2006 compared to 1998, 2001 and 2003. Amphetamine was also assessed to be relatively more difficult to obtain in 2006 compared to 2001. The decline in the availability of amphetamine occurred during a period after 2001 of sustained focus by drug enforcement agencies on disrupting clandestine methamphetamine manufacture and supply. A fall in the availability of nitrous oxide in 2006 followed a tightening of the rules concerning its sale by the Ministry of Health. Our findings suggest that policy makers can negatively affect the availability of a drug and, in turn, its level of use, with effective policy interventions.
ACCESSION #
41873656

 

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