June 26 is the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
The day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1987 to help in the creation of an international society free of drug abuse.
Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess, New Zealand Police, says while it is worth highlighting drug abuse and trafficking by nominating a specific day, the New Zealand Police focus on preventing drug abuse every day of the year, 24/7.
"In New Zealand our key areas of concern are around methamphetamine, cannabis and the increasing amount of analogue drugs on the illicit market."
Police initiated our Methamphetamine Control Strategy in November 2009. Since then, Police have taken more than 24 kilos of methamphetamine out of circulation.
The street value of this much methamphetamine is as much as $30M.
The estimated dollar value of drug harm saved to New Zealand is over $10M.
The NZ Drug Harm Index was developed in 2006 by Business and Economic Research Limited (BERL), to try and demonstrate the cost of illicit drugs to society. Three broad categories of cost are considered: direct costs, indirect costs, road accident costs, healthcare costs, lost production costs and reduced quality of life.
"NZ Police is focused on a prevention first strategy. Getting drugs out of circulation contributes to preventing crimes we associate with drug abuse, such as burglary, robbery and car theft," Mr Burgess said.
Cannabis continues to be the drug of choice for New Zealanders and Police have not wavered in their targeting of the growers and dealers of cannabis.
Next week the results of this year's cannabis operation to date will be released.
"The results are excellent, a testament to the work being done throughout New Zealand by Police to disrupt the supply chain of cannabis. Again, the value of harm saved to New Zealand is significant," Mr Burgess said.
Ongoing work is being done to strip drug manufacturers and dealers of the profits and assets they derive from their offending.
Of the $14.8M worth of assets forfeited to the Crown since the Criminal Proceeds Recovery Act came into effect, an estimated $6.9M was related to methamphetamine offending and a further $3.9M was related to cannabis offending.
Mr Burgess says a recent and worrying trend is the number of analogue substances available that mimic drugs like ecstasy.
"Recent operations by Police and Customs have turned up large volumes of these harmful drugs being manufactured and distributed, he said.
"Here in New Zealand, Police are working in partnership with other agencies every day to disrupt supply, reduce demand and prevent drug harm."
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