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Drugs Congress Recommends Project Stop For NZ

Illicit Drugs Congress Recommends Project Stop For New Zealand

New Zealand Police National News Release

27 November 2008

The Australian National Chemical Diversion Congress has called for New Zealand to implement a similar programme to the Australian-based Project STOP as an effective way of monitoring and controlling the sale of pseudoephedrine-containing medicines from pharmacies in New Zealand.

The annual Australian illicit drugs congress aims to reduce the diversion of chemicals into the manufacture of particularly methamphetamine and other illicit drugs. The congress was hosted by the New Zealand Police in Wellington this week and was attended by more than 120 delegates from across Australia and the Pacific region.

It is the first time the congress has been held in New Zealand.

Detective Inspector Stuart Mills, head of the National Drug Intelligence Bureau (NDIB)* says an estimated 70 percent of the pseudoephedrine identified at clandestine laboratories dismantled in New Zealand is from domestic sources.

"Given this, it makes sense for us to focus on disrupting access to and availability of chemicals like pseudoephedrine which are required to make methamphetamine.

Mr Mills says putting better controls around the sale of precursors would leave enforcement agencies free to focus on control of precursors being illegally imported at the border.

Project STOP is an electronic reporting tool for pharmacists to prevent the use of pseudoephedrine-based products in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Mr Mills said a lot of work was needed to ensure New Zealand had robust and effective methods of combating pre-cursor chemical diversion.

"The methamphetamine industry in New Zealand is estimated to be worth $1.2 billion. To combat this we need a multi-level response from both industry and government.

The congress, which ended today, highlighted the commitment by both industry, central and local government to move forward in finding solutions for the New Zealand environment, Mr Mills said.

"This congress has provided an excellent opportunity for those involved in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, and in law enforcement and crime prevention to learn about the actions being taken overseas and see what is working.

"The real test will be if we can then use that information to take action and improve the situation in New Zealand", Mr Mills said.

ENDS


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