Prescription drug trade alarms police

RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 15:47 28/02/2012

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Christchurch's "illicit" prescription drug trade is alarming police after two people were arrested for dealing prescription morphine.

Christchurch police Detective Grant Collins said the abuse of morphine and codeine-based drugs by drug users who convert this to heroin was a "significant issue" in the city.

"A large amount of crime is committed to fund these drug habits," he said.

Police said a man and a woman were arrested and charged with possession of a class B controlled drug for supply last week.

The man was also charged with supplying a class B controlled drug.

Both were remanded on bail.

Collins said the man was legitimately prescribed morphine, however he sold it on to another person who then on-sold the drugs.

"We have seen a trend towards prescription holders being targeted by drug users and the elderly are particularly at risk."

Anyone who had a prescription for morphine should be wary of people trying to get hold of their scripts, Collins said.

People who were abusing their doctor's trusts to gain scripts for illegal purposes could face serious drug dealing charges.

Police were liaising with local doctors and health providers to highlight concerns and raise awareness in a bid to prevent such abuse.

He said police were keeping a close eye on the "illicit trade".

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- The Press

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