First it was the cycle-way, then it was the Letterman show, now he’s banning cold remedies from pharmacy shelves. Is there no end to the goofiness of our Prime Minister?
There’s no denying that New Zealand has a problem with methamphetamine drug use and the mindless sub-culture that goes with it. And it’s clear that access to precursor drugs plays an important part in the manufacture of pure crystal meth or “P”. What is less clear is exactly where the criminal element are sourcing these materials from.
Pulling pseudoephidrine based cold remedies out of chemist shops is not going to solve our drug problem. It will however deprive thousands of honest citizens temporary relief from cough and cold symptoms. In fact such a response may lead to even more serious crime because criminals will have to resort to more overt methods to secure the materials they need. In any event there remain substantial amounts of these drugs making it across our borders from offshore in a variety of different disguises.
What is even more crazy is that there is a technological solution available for this problem. The Australian Pharmacy Guild already offered free monitoring software to their Kiwi counterparts. The software correlates multiple purchases of drugs across pharmacies and reports suspicious activity directly to Police. For some unknown reason the offer was refused.
The fact that a technological answer to this issue has not been implemented is all the more bizarre given that the Prime Minister’s science advisor Professor Peter Gluckman has been all over the case. Perhaps Dr Gluckman’s time would be better spent reminding the government why this is an excellent example of how New Zealand is failing miserably to use digital innovation to improve economic productivity.
Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!