As much as I love the original Premium, I wouldn't buy batches of previously-used units unless it was for rippping purposes only. That's why 5 out of my 7 Premiums were purchased New, even if I bought them very late (3 of them within the past 12 months). The other 2 units were like-new, from individual sellers who weren't offering mass quantities of the drive.
The only thing 'wrong' with the original Premiums is that they won't burn at 2x or 1x. But I've achieved some very nice burns at 4x and 20x - depending upon the CD-Rs I am using.
AMQR, GigaRec, VariRec, and the burning speeds, can all make quite the difference on the same model of CD-Rs. That's why you'll see a lot of people at CDfreaks reporting their PlexTools settings when they post their graph tests.
New Premium2s always have been and still are actively sold in Japan. That's where I bought mine from, for the three drive bezels (white/black/silver). Now, I don't follow the European market very closely, so I can't really say whether or not the drive is still available over there, but I know the drive appeared in white-bezel-only packagings in Europe, and that most of the CDfreaks members who have a Premium2, got theirs from Europe.