The fallout from meth use is being felt in Motueka where social leaders point to the drug as one of the community’s big challenges.
“It’s an across the board issue and to a point where we have younger members of a family, over the age of 16, who are scared of what they are observing in their older family members in terms of usage.
“It’s a different ballpark to cannabis. It’s a lot scarier.”
Lawrence was aware some teenagers were living in homes were meth was being used.
“They are still turning up at school – yet they have had no sleep and a range of people have flowed in and out of the house out of their control. This is to their absolute credit.
“They are not letting anyone know what is going on because of the stigma and because it is part of the expectation within that household that it stays unspoken.”
Dee Cresswell, manager of SVS Living Safe in Motueka and Nelson, said alcohol and drugs were a huge factor in the incidents of family violence they dealt with.
“Drugs, mental health, poverty and deprivation are all underlying factors in family violence – with the most impact on the children and partners.”
Womens and Childrens Refuge Services manager Katie O’Donnell said heavy users of drugs like meth tended to be more volatile and unpredictable, which increased the risks for women and children living in the same home.
Women who were using the drug alongside their partner found it harder to break away from the relationship, she said.
Motueka Womens Support Link service manager Lisa Whittaker said there had been a noticeable increase in the number of their clients being affected by their partner’s use of meth.
The drug often heightened an already dangerous situation, when the women were planning to leave the relationship. “The violence can move from zero to extreme,” she said.
Nelson Bays Police sergeant David Prentice recently said meth was as widely available as cannabis across the region and being used by people from all walks of life.
“It is really one of those drugs which does not discriminate.”