Seeping into all corners of society

Publication Date10 February 2022
Publication titleSouthland Express
Police, counsellors and front line social agencies all say the same thing: it is in all walks of life. It crosses all social barriers, incomes and genders. There’s no such thing as the run-of-the-mill crack addict

The Southland Express spoke with recovered addict and former wholesale distributor Sam Payne.

The now 29-year-old said the drug was so rife in the city it was easier to buy than cannabis.

It was being bought by corporate people, students, mums, dads and even grandparents or your everyday Joe Bloggs neighbour.

Her addiction started as a teenager. She was in a stable relationship at the time. But it was after a friend’s car accident things changed.

She wanted to go and party with her friends, but her partner was ready to settle down.

The new man, a cliche ‘‘bad boy’ from a gang, was more exciting.

‘‘I was jumping through hoops I thought I would never jump through. It was all exciting — it was all go. And I started smoking meth.’’

Life changed quickly. She lost her job and driver’s licence and the new ‘exciting’ boyfriend was now beating her up.

A particularly bad beating landed her in hospital. But meth became her escape after she was discharged.

A move to Christchurch made things worse as she sank deeper into gang life.

‘‘I went completely off the rails.’’

Despite ‘‘smoking continuously [meth] all day, every day’’ she still did not believe she was addicted.

‘‘I was making so much money, I could smoke. I believed it was my decision.’’

A move north to Nelson, where she started working in a pub, also reconnected her with meth. Things quickly spiralled out of control again.

But in the wild mix came a job promotion: pub and restaurant manager. Relationship conflict flared and it blew apart.

A new and heavy relationship took her even deeper into the meth world where she was now distributing.

When the police raided the pub, significant amounts of cash were found.

After being released on bail, the pair left Nelson and drove to Christchurch.

‘‘He picked me up in the car and on the way down to Christchurch we got pulled over and found with just over a kilogram of meth in the car... with a street value of $1.4 million.’’

He went to jail and she ‘‘lost everything’’.

‘‘We lost our house. I had no idea what to do with myself, so I went back into meth heavier than ever.’’

Moving back to her family in Invercargill did not help.

‘‘I lied to my entire whole family.’’

There were further raids and arrests.

‘‘They keep letting me out. That was half the problem —...

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