Recent Changes in the Methamphetamine Scene in New Zealand: Page 1

Recent Changes in the Methamphetamine Scene in New Zealand: Page 1

Recent changes in the methamphetamine scene in New Zealand:
Preliminary findings from key informant surveys of drug enforcement officers and drug treatment workers

January 2004

C. Wilkins1, E. Rose1, D.Trappitt2, D. Sellman3, S. Adamson3 and K. DeZwart3

1 Centre for Social and Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation (SHORE), Massey University, Auckland.
2 Police National Headquarters, New Zealand Police.
3 National Addiction Centre, Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago.

Introduction - This document presents preliminary findings from key informant surveys of drug enforcement and drug treatment workers about how the methamphetamine scene in New Zealand has changed in the last six months. It is the first component of a larger study of the socio-economic impact of Amphetamine type Stimulants (ATS) commissioned by the New Zealand Police. The ATS project is funded by the New Zealand Police from money received from the Cross Departmental Research Funding Pool administered by the Ministry of Research Science and Technology (MoRST).

Acknowledgements - We would like to thank all the respondents to the key informant surveys without whom this research could not have taken place. The SHORE project team was led by Dr Chris Wilkins. Emily Rose assisted in the analysis of the findings and preparation of the presentation. Superintendent Dave Trappitt is the National Manager Planning, Policy and Evaluation at the Police National Headquarters, New Zealand Police, Wellington. Associate Professor Doug Sellman is the Director of the National Addiction Centre. Simon Adamson and Karen DeZwart worked on the National Addiction Centre Rolling Telephone Survey of drug treatment workers.

Component Aim: To provide a rapid assessment of how the methamphetamine situation in New Zealand has changed over the last six months.

Method: Drawing on the Rapid Assessment and Response (RAR) methodology key informant surveys were conducted nationwide with drug treatment workers and drug enforcement officers from Police and Customs in November and December of 2003. Drug enforcement key informants were selected by the National Drug Intelligence Bureau (NDIB) from officers with good knowledge of drug offending from all areas of the country. These included officers in drug squads, Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB), National Drug Intelligence Bureau (NDIB), Customs, National Bureau Criminal Intelligence (NBCI), Organised Crime Units (OCU), clandestine laboratory teams, and officers in the undercover programme. Those selected were sent a questionnaire by post through the Evaluation Unit of the Commissioners Office with an attached letter of support from the Commissioner or Head of Customs as appropriate. Drug treatment worker key informants were respondents to the National Addiction Centres (NAC) national survey of drug treatment workers. In this survey, treatment workers are randomly selected from an up-dated list of all drug treatment workers in New Zealand. The methamphetamine key informant questions were included in the regular NAC interview. Drug treatment respondents were initially administered a telephone interview and then faxed additional questions for completion and return by fax. The key informant questionnaire was a mix of structured quantitative questions and open qualitative questions about changes in the use and sale of methamphetamine in the last six months. The response rate of the drug enforcement key informants was 74% (n=74). The response rate of the drug treatment key informants was 71% (n=48/37). This seminar presents some of the central findings of the key informant surveying. More detailed findings from this component will be presented in a written report to New Zealand Police when data collection and analysis from other components of the research project are complete.