The Government is already considering banning other products with everyday uses that are ingredients for the drug P, having taken an entire range of cold and flu tablets off shop shelves.

Prime Minister John Key yesterday made pseudoephedrine-based tablets a prescription-only drug, and said he was concerned at the ready availability of some other chemicals used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

The Herald understands such ingredients include certain cleaners, acids and chemicals. They have mainly industrial uses, but are still easy to get.

Mr Key said stories of retailers selling in bulk were "worrying".

"But at the same time I don't want to unduly restrict the availability of these chemicals for law-abiding citizens. There is a balance to be struck."

He had ordered Police Minister Judith Collins and Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne to examine further restrictions and report back by next year.

In the case of restrictions placed on the sale of cold and flu tablets Mr Key said New Zealanders had to "band together" and use alternatives in order to help solve the P problem.

The decision was based on advice from his chief science adviser Sir Peter Gluckman, who said products using phenylephrine were largely as effective and would not inconvenience most people.

Mr Key said police found evidence of domestically purchased cold and flu tablets in up to one-third of the P labs they busted.

He said restricting the availability would make manufacture harder, particularly for lower-level cooks starting in the trade. "This will be a blow to P cooks, and it is a blow I am pleased to be delivering," he said.

Mr Key also wanted to give families the legal power to force loved ones addicted to P into treatment.

Mr Key said he was happy to override the individual rights of the addicts, as this was "holding back families trying to help loved ones".

' Mr Key said the current mechanism for forcing treatment was the outdated Alcoholism and Drug Addictions Act 1966, which was hardly used and expensive. He wanted to make it easier for families to get orders from the civil courts, and had ordered Mr Dunne to review the law.

There are currently about 150-200 applications made under the act each year. There are concerns about its inconsistency with the Bill of Rights and debate about whether addicts should be made to undertake treatment unwillingly.

Mr Key also revealed $22 million in funding for the treatment of addicts, which was welcomed by drug and alcohol workers who have long complained about a shortage of beds.

He referred to an article in the Herald's The War on P series about a mother who watched her son cry and beg for treatment, saying: "I am determined to do better for families like these."

Mr Key's plan also included improving drug education, and the police beginning a "methamphetamine control strategy", which he gave few details of except that it would "use intelligence in new ways to target gangs". He would release a public document next week outlining his targets for departmental chief executives.

Labour law and order spokesman Clayton Cosgrove said while supportive in general terms, there was a "contradiction in resourcing". Police and Customs had both suffered budget cuts this year, and were being asked to do "more with less".

THE WAR AGAINST P: JOHN KEY'S STRATEGY
Stop over-the-counter sales of cold and flu tablets containing pseudoephedrine
Tablets containing pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient for P, will require a doctor's prescription. They will be available only in hospital pharmacies. The public will have to use tablets with alternative ingredients, which John Key says are just as effective in most cases.

Customs drug teams using secret new detection techniques
Customs will "redeploy" 40 officers to focus on the importation of P and its precursors. Mr Key revealed new detection techniques had been trialled over two weeks in August, resulting in the seizure of up to 13kg of P and 46kg of precursors - a total street value of $13 million.

$22 million in Government funding for treatment of P addicts
Funding for 20 "social detox" beds that will provide short-term stays and intensive support for addicts before linking them to follow-up services. Expected to be available to 2700 people over the next three years. The programme will also set up 60 residential beds in specialist facilities, with treatment lasting four months. This will be available to 400 people over the three-year period.

Give families the legal power to force loved ones into treatment
Families and doctors will be given "effective legal means" to get drug and alcohol addicts into compulsory treatment. This will be a civil court order that is not expensive or difficult to obtain as it currently is under the out-dated Alcohol and Drug Addiction Act 1966.

Criminal proceeds seized by police will fund anti-P initiatives
Police have new powers under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act to seize assets that are the proceeds of crime. These seizures will fund additional police and Customs initiatives targeting gangs and organised crime syndicates, as well as expanding drug treatment services.