The sad reality of how meth is tearing New Zealand families apart

We keep hearing how methamphetamine is tearing New Zealand families apart, but many of us have no idea what's really going on.

In this Because It Matters special investigation, National Correspondent Patrick Gower sat down with a group of addicts who opened up about the devastating impact 'P' can have - especially on mothers. 

This is his report.

It's a small meeting in the Manawatu town of Feilding on Tuesday night. Ten people, all with one thing in common: methamphetamine has wrecked their lives.

They are addicts or recovering addicts sharing stories. And, like Honey, their shame.

"I was 44 kilos, my internal organs were shutting down, and I was so close to death," Honey says.

Honey while she was an addict.
Honey while she was an addict. Photo credit: Newshub

What meth has done to them is truly frightening.

"I ended up trying to kill myself," Jamie-Lee says. "I was disgusting. I was incredibly skinny. I was psychotic."

Jamie-Lee while addicted to P.
Jamie-Lee while addicted to P. Photo credit: Newshub

They have invited Gower in so he can learn. And one of many horrors stands out - the number of people who have lost their kids because of P.

Jamie-Lee lost her kids and so too did Kasarah.

"I knew it was wrong but I still couldn't stop myself from doing it," Jamie-Lee says.

"I was sitting with a bottle of booze and a knife in my hand - ready to just end it," Kasarah adds.

Kasarah while she was addicted to meth.
Kasarah while she was addicted to meth. Photo credit: Newshub

It happened to Honey as well. 

"I lost the custody of my child. She went to my mum," Honey says.

Jamie-Lee says mums using meth is a massive problem.

"I couldn't tell anybody, because if I told anybody - I'd lose my kids. That was my biggest fear, that I'd lose my kids."

Remember, these mums are just one meeting in one town. It will be happening all over New Zealand.

"I was ruining my kids' lives - I really was," Jamie-Lee says.

It is confronting  - and makes Mark regret dealing meth.

"Moments like this I feel shit. Because I'd sell to mums and that. And to hear the stories of Jamie - shit, I'm one of those causes," he says.

And this meeting has a real difference - local police come along each week to see and hear things from the other side. They're officers like Senior Constable Alan Wells.

"I think you were there when my kids got taken eh?" Jamie-Lee says to him.

"Yeah. We've been to multiple family harm incidents. I've been there when she has been in a real bad way on drugs... and the kids are wandering around," he replies.

But Jamie-Lee went to rehab, got clean and now has one of her children back and access to the other two.

Jamie-Lee meth-free and with her children.
Jamie-Lee meth-free and with her children. Photo credit: Newshub

And Snr Const Wells says being part of that is special.

"It's an awesome feeling for everyone," he says.

Kasarah is clean too - she has regular access to her kids.

"If it wasn't for this group. I wouldn't be here today. I would be lying six-feet under."

Kasarah now with her children.
Kasarah now with her children. Photo credit: Newshub

Honey is clean as well - and has access too.

"This Friday, I get my daughter for the night."

Honey now with her daughter.
Honey now with her daughter. Photo credit: Newshub

This weekly meeting is organised by Robyn Duncan - the 'mumma' of the group.

A social worker, Duncan understands the reality of what meth takes from mums. She says the issue of women losing their children is "absolutely huge".

She says the kids end up with grandparents, or with other family or Oranga Tamariki.

But this "Mumma" is there for these Mums.

"I'm addicted. I can't help myself Paddy. I love helping other people," Duncan says.

A room of people all with meth in common - as well as someone who is there for them.