Drug dealers are increasingly providing home deliveries in
response to text orders in a system known as "dial-a-tinny".
A Massey University survey of 330 frequent illegal drug users
found 25 users who mentioned text-and-deliver as a new trend
that worked well "to avoid being seen by cops".
It also found a handful of drug dealers selling drugs through
Facebook and other social networking sites.
Two people had even used "bitcoins"as "non-traceable
dollars"to buy drugs online.
Researcher Dr Chris Wilkins said the trend was no surprise
because the Kiwi drug market had always operated mainly among
friends rather than through big dealers.
"It's a bit like selling Avon versus through Farmers," he
said. "If you have Avon you have people selling on to other
people, and that is what has made the illegal drug market so
resilient - you take out one person and they might only have
Massey's annual survey interviews drug users found by word of
mouth and through help agencies in Auckland, Wellington and
The most dramatic recent change has been the sudden
appearance of new synthetic cannabis drugs - and an equally
dramatic reversal in the latest survey for 2012 after Kronic
and related products were banned in August 2011 and harmful
side-effects became better known.
The effect was most dramatic for Ecstasy users, who are
mainly university students.
None of them used synthetic cannabis up to 2009, then
suddenly 21 per cent used it in 2010 and 45 per cent in 2011,
but the number dropped in the latest survey to 24 per cent.
The number of Ecstasy users who smoked natural cannabis
dropped from 89 per cent in 2010 to 84 per cent in 2011, but
rose again to 90 per cent in 2012 as people were scared off
the synthetic products.
Dr Wilkins said he saw the same pattern for BZP party pills
after they were banned in April 2008, plunging from 46 per
cent of Ecstasy users in 2007 to 25 per cent in 2008 and 15
per cent in 2009. They were down to 9 per cent in 2012.
"There might be a high point of the market of people who
wouldn't otherwise use illegal drugs. They are attracted to
the legal part of it," he said.
"So when you do make a former 'legal high' illegal, those
people are not interested, because as a group they are quite
conventional and law-abiding."
The survey found no significant change in the availability of
methamphetamine since 2006 apart from a downward trend in
Police "P-lab"discoveries have dropped from a peak of 211 in
2006 to 94 in 2012, suggesting a probable decline in P use.
However, the latest two surveys have found an increase in the
number of users of the imported crystalline form of the drug,
known as "Ice".
* Dealers take to texting and Facebook.
* Synthetic cannabis use leaps, then falls.
* Local P manufacturing declines.
* Imported 'Ice' rises again.
On the web www.shore.ac.nz/projects/idms-study.htm.
- Simon Collins of the New Zealand Herald