What a horror story you described in your editorial (Abject Surrender, May 8), telling us that the new coalition government, only six months into their first term yet with one of the chamber's most experienced politicians soon to be in charge as acting PM, has given up. How can this be?

P has been around as a problem drug in the USA since 1970, and yet the drug has not taken a death grip of that country, nor have the various US state governments seem to have given up on its people. The following linked article https://www.joe.org/joe/2008october/a6.php describes the problem with meth that was emerging in Montana in the noughties.

That state has similar demography to rural New Zealand, with a population of only one million, and had large numbers of amateur "kitchens" cheaply manufacturing the drug and selling it to the rural community at that time.

The large scale "super-labs" were distributing the majority of the P, but a greater percentage of the rural community were addicted than the US national average. The 12- to 14-year-olds living in smaller towns were found to be 104 per cent more likely to use P than those in the larger cities.

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Why has the scourge of P not spread uncontrollably in the USA like it seems to be doing in New Zealand? Perhaps the average American is more savvy than the average Kiwi.

P is described as a powerfully addictive and violent drug where that addiction is difficult to treat, and carries high risks of developing severe long-term effects, including depression, anxiety, mood changes, paranoia and other psychological disorders.

What person would knowingly choose to begin using such a harmful drug?

Perhaps, through no fault of their own, the new users are ignorant of the dangers. The Montana report was written five years after launching a programme of "research-based programs and materials".

The authors claimed it was having positive effects on P use, production and awareness, with 100 per cent of school-age children polled saying they would never use the drug.

As you recommended in your editorial, the programme involved and tapped into the full support of the Montana community.

Note that this programme is the antithesis of the Ministry of Health's 'Guidelines on how to use P discreetly,' which seems to rely on the ability of addicts to "age out" of the use of P https://aeon.co/essays/most-drug-users-stop-without-help-so-long-as-they-re-not-poor. Good luck with that.

Admittedly, the government in 2005 borrowed the 'Faces of Meth' campaign from the state of Oregon.

https://www.nzgeo.com/stories/our-problem-with-p/.

This had limited success, perhaps because not enough of the community were involved. Who now remembers anything of that campaign?

Don't give up on us Winston, please keep trying.

JOHN MATTHEWS
Mangonui