Continual seizures of methamphetamine by Northland police has had no visible impact on the availability of the illegal drug as demand continues to grow and the price declines.
Results of the latest Massey University Illicit Drug Monitoring Systems showed a sharp rise in the supply and declining prices for meth, from 2015 to 2016 in Auckland and Christchurch.
It's a trend authorities have noticed in Northland.
The region's top police officer Superintendent Russell Le Prou said despite a focus on seizing the drug there appeared to be no visible impact on the availability of methamphetamine.
"In Northland our own intelligence indicates the price of methamphetamine is decreasing, a further indicator that the methamphetamine market remains well supplied and demand is high," he said.
The Massey university report revealed the average price of a gram of methamphetamine declined in Auckland from $579 in 2015 to $485 in 2016, and in Christchurch from $1002 in 2015 to $746 in 2016.
In Northland police said the average price per gram of meth in the region fluctuated depending on demand and supply between $500-$700 with the average being $650 - down from about $1000 per gram.
A positive step in trying to reduce the harm done to Northland communities was the introduction of the The Te Ara Oranga Methamphetamine Harm Reduction Pilot which was officially launched last year on August 31 and is funded until June 30 this year.
"We believe the programme has the potential to make a real difference to the supply and demand aspect. This is actually the only programme that tries to address that demand aspect and it's my belief that this is the best intervention at this stage," Le Prou said.
"Concentrating on demand will take some time to see change."
During the first six months of the pilot police carried out 27 search warrants and recovered 14 firearms, five were loaded. However, police were unable to give specific quantities of methamphetamine seized during warrants as part of the pilot across the region.
Fifteen children have been referred to Oranga Tamariki after police became concerned and 53 meth users plus two families were referred to the District Health Board for help.
"Drugs and firearms often go hand in hand with organised crime and this is of great concern to police, and that's why we have a focus on it. The effect methamphetamine has in our community is devastating, not only on the user, but on their families and in particular the flow-on effect to children is shocking."
Through the pilot a further 74 meth users have been contacted for referral for treatment and 26 people have been placed in new work. There have been 25 arrests from which seven signed referrals for treatment.
Northland DHB general manager of mental health and addiction services Ian McKenzie says the pilot has been a fantastic way of working, unlike any he has known previously.
"The partnership with police has provided a good example of how we can both complement each other to improve pathways into treatment and co-ordinate activity to ensure that treatment services are both flexible and responsive with the shared goal of reducing the harm caused by methamphetamine."
The Te Ara Oranga Methamphetamine Demand Reduction pilot funding of $3 million was made available under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act.