'Dealing with a wave of destruction' - agencies reflect on meth waste water results

By Whatitiri Te Wake

New wastewater data has shown an increase in methamphetamine in the last quarter. Hotspots include Northland, Waikato and the East Coast.

Although Te Hauāwhiowhio o Otāngarei Trust chief executive Martyn Kaipo isn’t surprised by the findings, he says the increase has been creeping up for some time.

His biggest concern is the effect meth is having on tamariki in his area with some as young as eight being used to distribute and deal meth. He says most of these tamariki come from meth-ridden homes.

“They are enticed, they are rewarded either through money or other means and meth is one of those methods of payment.”

“They’re not even teens yet, and yet they're entrenched in a lifestyle of addictions that surrounds them in that environment,” he says.

The New Zealand Drug Foundation is calling for a national rollout of a Northland rehabilitation programme that it says is a "no brainer".

Supporting whānau

The ground-breaking Northland programme, Te Ara Oranga, is a partnership between local communities, Police and Health that focuses on reducing demand for methamphetamine by providing health and social support.

 Kaipo supports that call saying any programme is valuable as he and organisations like his are "dealing with a wave of destruction".

Another vehicle to combat the impact of addiction is an online platform ‘Whānaufluence’', a Facebook page with an aim of having free and open conversations with whānau as a way to empower and incite change among them.

With nearly 12,000 followers, Liz Makalio and her son Nizz use the platform to open the dialogue for whānau to talk about many issues and offer tools and strategies for them to cope. Whilst meth isn’t really a topic they speak of in isolation, the after-effects of addiction are.

“Whānau are trying to restart themselves and reset themselves and they are looking for which way is up. That's probably where Whānaufluence comes in, ” Makalio says

“It's all about skills, tools and giving whānau hopefully what they need to become better versions of themselves.”