Desperate New Zealanders struggle with lack of meth addiction support

New Zealanders desperately in need of treatment for meth addiction are turning to online forums for help.

Rehab centres have waiting lists three months long and while they wait, families are being torn apart by the impact of the drug.

Linda Sheldon's son was a good man who ran a successful business.

"He'd gone to a really good school, was well cared for, well looked after," she says.

But everything changed last year when, aged 31, he took up meth.

"I would never have believed in 100 years that that's what would've happened. It just doesn't happen to people like me, it happens to everybody else - that was my perception of it," she says.

Despite huge efforts by the family, he lost his business and became homeless.

"He had this gaunt, hagged, haunted sort of look on his face. He looked like my son but he didn't," Ms Sheldon says.

It's had a devastating impact on Ms Sheldon, too.

"I was so just so stressed, worried; it was terrible," she says.

She tried to find support. However, rehab had a three-month waiting list, and five other agencies couldn't help. So she turned to the internet.

Ms Sheldon is one of many affected by meth turning to community forums for support.

Facebook group New Zealand P Pull has more than 4000 members, including addicts, mums, dads and mobsters.

"These people who you wouldn't ordinarily have anything to do with are working with a common goal now," Ms Sheldon says.

The page was started by addict-turned-rehab clinician Andrew Hopgood. He says it shows people are desperate.

"It's like well, society, the Government isn't helping us, so we'll help ourselves," says Mr Hopgood, a clinician at Red Door Recovery.

Mr Hopgood says Wellington alone needs to double its rehab capacity, and the need is growing. A recent report leaked to Newshub shows meth is costing less and is now easier to get than cannabis.

While online forums are helping, those families torn apart by meth say they need more than just the internet.

Newshub.

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