The meth fighters

At the walk-up desk in Te Awamutu were, from left, Tim Varney, Paula Woolford, Constable Ryan Fleming, Ange Holt and Donna Stanley

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When calls went out on social media this week for a march against P in Te Awamutu it highlighted two things.

Firstly, help is already at hand every week in town – and secondly, it clearly needs more publicity.

Donna Stanley, Paula Woolford and Tim Varey run a walk-in every Wednesday from 10am to noon outside First National on Alexandra St.

“I am seeing my town being gripped by meth – it’s normalised or denied,” Donna said. “It’s time to bring it out into the open and say it won’t be tolerated.”

She works with an organisation called the Anti P ministry.

It was founded 13 years ago by Brendon Warne, who says “I will continue to raise awareness around meth and synthetic drugs till my last breath”.

“Our mission is to spread awareness and promote education around the methamphetamine epidemic our community faces,” Donna said.

The Anti-P ministry provides support for marches, and also delivers an 8-week programme called Planting the Seed.

Its members are all celebrating being “clean” – in Donna’s case, it’s 10 years.

She says the Ministry has recently run a march in Taumarunui and will be in Waikato after January, focussing on Te Awamutu, Hamilton, Tokoroa and Putaruru.

Ange Holt is the whanau resilience kamahi Te Awamutu’s Kainga Aroha Community House and in that role has watched as P takes a destructive grip on families.

She is seeing an increase in use in a drug that has an extraordinarily strong addition power and takes its users to “rock bottom”.

“Imagine if I out your favourite piece of chocolate in front of you and told you not to eat it. Multiply the desire for it 20 times, then try and stop yourself,” she said.

Her experience with talking to addict illustrates how that “power of the pull” is coupled with a forlorn desire the replicate the memory of the first hit.

She is a firm supporter of anti-P marches because they raise awareness of how the drug works – and what people who are hooked on it can do to help themselves and how whānau can help.

The News will be reporting on the impact of P in the community in the build up to Christmas

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