Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Urban drug myth: Fruit-flavoured methamphetamine

NEW ZEALAND DRUG FOUNDATION
MEDIA ADVISORY
28 June 2007

Advisory to media on urban drug myth: Fruit-flavoured methamphetamine

Over the past week an email has been circulating warning parents, schools and drug treatment workers about fruit-flavoured methamphetamine. The email says drug dealers are adding artificial fruit flavouring, such as strawberry, to methamphetamine to make it more attractive to children.

This email originates from the United States of America (US), but has quickly made its way across New Zealand’s email networks. The Drug Foundation has received numerous enquiries from our nationwide membership about the validity of the warning. It appears at least one newspaper has reported this story.

The Drug Foundation has made investigations about the veracity of this story with colleagues in the US. Despite wide media reporting in the US, including quotes attributed to drug law enforcement officials, our colleagues say the story is an urban myth, which distracts from larger alcohol and other drug problems confronting youth.

Boston University’s School of Public Health say, “Flavoured methamphetamine is somewhat akin to the Loch Ness Monster: everyone has heard of it, but firsthand sightings are hard to track down and verify. Various media reports around the U.S. have raised the alarm about the dangers of this new drug, but invariably concede that no cases have been reported locally.”

They note the following stories:

- A breathless report from WAVE-TV in Louisville, Ky., is illustrative: “A dangerous new form of methamphetamine is headed to the area and it’s aimed at kids. It’s called Strawberry Quick, but unlike the popular breakfast drink, this drug can kill,” according to reporter Shayla Reaves. “Strawberry methamphetamine looks and tastes a lot like the candy known as ‘pop rocks.’ It’s got a strawberry flavour and scent, and it even pops in your mouth, just like the candy. While no cases have been reported in Kentucky, police say it’s not a matter of if it arrives, but when.”

- Meanwhile, in Evansville, Ind., Kim Dacey of WFIE-TV reported, “Across the country, law enforcement are tracking a new type of methamphetamine designed for young users, and it’s headed for the Tri-State. The taste of this new methamphetamine is changing. Police across the country are noticing a new type of methamphetamine, made with different colours, and flavours, like strawberry. Police say it’s made using products you can find in any grocery store.”

The WFIE story quotes Gibson County Sheriff Allen Harmon saying, “One of the things they’re using is the powdered strawberry quick mix, chocolate mix that’s a powder they put in milk to make it flavoured. We’ve been told they’re using that, and melted Lifesavers.” In the next breath, however, Harmon adds that the flavoured version of the drug hasn’t shown up locally.


Both the US Drug Enforcement Agency and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) have said they have not been able to identify a single confirmed seizure of flavoured methamphetamine.

It appears that US officials are confusing coloured methamphetamine (which is relatively common) with flavoured methamphetamine. Some ingredients used in the manufacture of methamphetamine colour it a light-pink colour because of the dye used in the pills. The drug can also appear greenish or blue.

Boston University’s David Rosenbloom says these stories about phantom flavoured drugs distracts from well-established problems with youth alcohol and other drug use, and also ignores the very real marketing of flavoured alcohol and tobacco products.

“Alcohol and tobacco manufacturers have used sweeteners to trap young people into using their products, so it’s no surprise there may be stories about illicit drug makers trying the same technique,” said David Rosenbloom, “We need to be vigilant, but the real and present danger that parents and policymakers must act on are the alcohol and tobacco companies peddling sweetened drinks and cigarettes to our children.”

“We just don’t want this to distract from the real problems out there,” said the Methamphetamine Foundation Project’s Jeanne Cox. Tom McNamara, an Illinois methamphetamine law-enforcement trainer, added, “The concern I have is that there will be a situation where people get all excited about something that didn’t happen, and won’t get involved when something serious does happen.”

An ONDCP spokesman said he recently got a strawberry-methamphetamine alert from a Washington, D.C., area school. “I’ve never gotten anything from them about alcohol or marijuana,” he said. “Those are the substances that have, by far, the largest impact on teens.”

The Drug Foundation trusts editors find this information useful when considering similar stories in New Zealand.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On Who Decides On The Priority List For Vaccines

During the past week, the nation has gone through a range of mixed feelings about south Auckland. Understandably, there’s been a hankering in some quarters to punish a few of the rule breakers who plunged all of Auckland back into lockdown…Yet alongside that impulse there also been compassion for the way that poverty and overcrowding make south Aucklanders extremely vulnerable to the spread of the virus... More>>


 




Government: PHARMAC Review Announced

The Government is following through on an election promise to conduct an independent review into PHARMAC, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Andrew Little announced today... More>>

ALSO:


Government: Main Benefits To Increase In Line With Wages

All measures of child poverty were trending downwards, prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, across the two years since year ended June 2018, Stats NZ said today. The COVID-19 lockdown in late March 2020 affected Stats NZ’s ability to collect data from households ... More>>

Government: Reserve Bank To Take Account Of Housing In Decision Making

The Reserve Bank is now required to consider the impact on housing when making monetary and financial policy decisions, Grant Robertson announced today. Changes have been made to the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee’s remit requiring it to take into ... More>>

ALSO:


Covid-19: Auckland Back To Alert Level Three After One New Community Case Revealed

Auckland will move to alert level three for a week at 6am tomorrow morning after two new Covid-19 community cases announced this evening could not be directly linked to earlier cases, the Prime Minister has confirmed.
The rest of the country will move to level two.... More>>

NZ Initiative: New Report Highlights How Our Housing Crisis Could Worsen If We Don’t Act Now

If New Zealand politicians thought the housing crisis in 2020 was bad, the worst is yet to come, warns a new report by The New Zealand Initiative. In The Need to Build: The demographic drivers of housing demand , Research Assistant Leonard Hong ... More>>

Parliament: Kiwi MPs Among The “Most Educated In The World”

New analysis of MP qualifications reveals New Zealand’s Parliament is one of the most educated and highest qualified in the world, and significantly more educated than Australia’s. The research, by Mark Blackham of BlacklandPR and Geoffrey Miller ... More>>

The Dig: An Illogical Ideological Struggle

Dig beneath all the trade wars and the arguments to the effect that the USA should not permit China to achieve economic and technological superiority, or even parity, and you find the real reason behind the conflict... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels