Porirua-based senior Mongrel Mob member Dennis Makalio is upping the ante in the war on 'P'. Dennis and wife Lizzie started their ‘New Zealand 'P'pull’ campaign in 2016 and have almost reached 7,000 members via its Facebook group.
Concern has spiked recently after research released by Massey University showed methamphetamine costs are at an all time low.
The Makalio family are opening the doors for addicts to overcome their 'P' addiction.
Dennis Makalio says, "We get a lot of whānau walking in here destroyed because they don't know what to do. And we've just made them stronger. And a lot of these whānau that have walked in some have actually healed."
Lizzie Makalio says they now have walk-ins around the North island where ex-addicts work with addicts, "When whānau walk in the door they're in a mess, they're anxious, they're paranoid, they're obviously not who they used to be. It’s about being a real person. It’s about having empathy, it’s about understanding and from what we've learnt it’s about sharing. Okay this is what you’re gonna go through, this is what the next three months are gonna look like for you."
According to Massey University research, methamphetamine costs as little as $450 for a gram, with Auckland, Waikato and Wellington ranking among the cheapest. Nationwide it's dropped almost $500 a gram.
Porirua Mayor Mike Tana says, "I talk very closely to the district commander here about what is it that needs to be done in Porirua, in the Wellington region about stopping the supply."
Lizzie Makalio says blaming the gangs for the meth issues in our nations communities is narrow minded.
"We've all heard about Tonga, Samoa. We've just come back from the Cook Islands that my home. It’s in there its everywhere and some of these places don't even have gangs. I think that it’s very narrow minded to think it’s a gang issue."
The Makalio's believe that more education around prevention and support systems are needed but most of all, more funding for volunteers like them.
Lizzie Makalio says, "I had to learn just by doing it to try to understand what the heck I’m doing but anyway, I learnt so much through that process. I learnt what we could or couldn't do, who was gonna help who wasn't, so I thought there's gotta be a way to teach the whānau what I had learnt."
Dennis Makailio says, "You've gotta go back to grassroots, real education of the sneakiness of a drug."
The Makalio's say they are planning a symposium for March next year and they intend to invite Government officials to listen to those working at ground level alongside addicts.