The inside story of NZ's growing addiction

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Rangi Kapa Pou is on a mission to help those who are addicted to "P" to break free and help whānau who are dealing with the fallout.

The motivational speaker is shedding light on the raw experience of being addicted to P and giving advice to those who need it most. 

“It put strain on my marriage, my family.  I lost some very close friends of mine, a sister, my best friend, to suicide while using methamphetamine," says Pou.  

"My mum was the one who suffered big time, not just from addiction but also even my brothers, I had three brothers that were caught up using.  So yeah, big toll on our family.”

After losing those close to him, being imprisoned, and attempting to take his own life, he's now on a mission to raise awareness and inspire change.

“Two weeks before [my friend] committed suicide he reached out for help, but unfortunately, and this is myself included, people didn't take it seriously and then two weeks later he had committed suicide.

"So after that I was really wanting to do something because I felt like there were people across the country that could in that position right now,” says Pou.

Community worker Tuta Ngarimu, who is behind the Kapai Kaiti community centre, says there is no residential rehabilitation for meth in Te Tairāwhiti and that support systems are driven by whānau who are in desperate need of government support.

“We've had guys turn up here that have been awake for eight blimmin' nights with no sleep.  All you need to do with them is [find] a safe place for you to just put them away and they're safe in this space.  They just need to sleep so the only option here is they get arrested, that's the only way out,” says Ngarimu.

Sergeant Rob Rutene says the number of people in attendance at the Kapai Kaiti Community Centre shows that the problem is more prevalent in the immediate community than previously thought.

“It's about how police and the community get together and work out a plan to address some of the issues that we're seeing, and it's not so much about us police prosecuting people, it's about us helping people through the situation,” says Rutene.

Pou says, “Whether you're someone who has a family member using methamphetamine, or whether you’re a user yourself, one thing that helped me- I made a decision, asked for help, got around people that could help, so that was the first thing.”

Ngarimu says they're looking at how to get some residential support systems in place in the East Coast.