Drugs in small town NZ: 'It's easier to get meth than cannabis'by Tim Brown
Methamphetamine is no longer just a big city problem.
Kelvin Wisely pleaded guilty earlier this year to his part in a commercial-scale methamphetamine supply operation from his rural property just out of Milton.
Importing the drug from the North Island in thermos flasks, he would hand it on to associates who sold it throughout Otago and Southland.
And there are others.
Two men from Balclutha - a town about 25km from Milton - are currently before the courts facing charges of conspiracy to supply methamphetamine.
Milton drug and alcohol counsellor Jamie Addison said those arrests were just the tip of the iceberg and many people in the district were struggling with addiction to the pernicious drug.
"The primary choice of substance [in the district] is meth and there's dependency," he said.
"These days it's easier to find methamphetamine in these areas than it is to find cannabis."
He had recently spoken to a young user in Milton.
"What I was seeing in this young man was just rage and anger in the front of his mind. He just wanted to lash out because he was hanging for it," Mr Addison said.
That young man was well-qualified, held a senior leadership role in a prominent business and had a supportive family.
"That's all been lost in a period of three months since he started using this drug," he said.
"And that's really horrific. His parents and family all went 'what's going on?'"
However, far from judging users, Mr Addison understands the difficulties they are facing.
"I was introduced to methamphetamine when it became a little more mainstream in the North Island - very quickly, very rapidly I'd say that addiction went from social use to dependency," he said.
"I was robbing off my own family. I was stealing off my own family. And the key principle we had growing up was you never steal from your family - the door is always open if you're hungry come in and have something to eat. So I was looking at any means to fund and support my addiction to meth."
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