A deadly drug which kills thousands of people every year could be the 'next P' in New Zealand, the Police Minister has warned.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, a painkiller 50 times more powerful than heroin, which killed more than 20,000 people by overdose in the United States in 2016.
The 'Opioid Epidemic' led President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency.
While only small amounts of fentanyl have been found in New Zealand, Police Minister Stuart Nash has asked the police to draft an action plan in case organised criminal groups try to introduce the drug on a larger scale.
"It's cheap, highly addictive and incredibly dangerous," Nash told the Herald on Sunday.
"We're a small market but we pay the second highest price in the OECD for methamphetamine. At some point, one of these gangs is going to say 'let's bring over 1kg or 2kg of fentanyl and see how we go'."
More than 500,000 pills can be pressed from 1kg of fentanyl powder, often mass produced in laboratories in China or Mexico.
There have been fatal overdoses of fentanyl in New Zealand, which is a prescription drug here, and small amounts have been stopped by Customs at the border.
The drug was identified at a local music festival earlier this year, being passed off as heroin, after testing by the Know Your Stuff organisation.
Fentanyl has also been imported into New Zealand by teenagers using the Darknet to cover their tracks.
Nash acknowledges New Zealand does not have the same history of opioid addiction, either as a recreation or pain relief drug, as the United States.
But he does not want law enforcement, social services and health agencies caught unawares by Fentanyl like New Zealand as with methamphetamine in the early 2000s.
Nearly two decades on, the country is still grappling with the problem and organised crime is making millions of dollars from P.
"We're often about five years behind the United States," says Nash, in reference to drug trends.
"I've asked for a fentanyl action plan. It may be that we keep it in the second drawer and never need to use it. I hope so.
"But if we do start seeing fentanyl on our streets, it's my view we'll have three months to get it right.
"We didn't get it right with P. If fentanyl arrives, we've got to get it right."
The warning about fentanyl - the drug which killed Prince and Tom Petty - came in a wide-ranging interview with the Police Minister about his plans to fund 700 new staff to combat organised crime.
In his 40 year career, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said organised crime in New Zealand had evolved from a local shop to a global corporation.
As a result, the police needed to be part of international law enforcement efforts.
"We've got to learn about what's happening around the world," said Bush.
"We should have been a lot quicker in terms of methamphetamine. We need to know what's the next big thing. And stay ahead of the curve."