The harm associated with methamphetamine use has been ‘up close and personal’ for Robyn Winther and her partner, Jarrod Waerea. Its effect on them, their friends and whānau has been harrowing but they’ve risen above that harm. They’re now hosting the latest New Zealand P-Pull walk-in meeting in Upper Hutt on the third Wednesday of every month.
New Zealand P-Pull is a nationwide network of people with real experience of the impact of methamphetamine. It supports and educates anyone affected in any way by the drug through a closed Facebook group and free, nationwide walk-in meetings.
Robyn Winther is a social and community health worker at the Pomare Medical Centre. She became involved in the P-Pull movement three years ago after noticing a rise in methamphetamine use in the community, and the unsettling effect it was having on local families.
Recognising problems caused by methamphetamine abuse can be complicated. Robyn was a busy mother studying for a social work degree when she was in a relationship with her previous partner who was addicted to methamphetamine, and violent. She knows from personal experience just how hard it can be to take action.
“Seeing whānau going through the same kind of stuff that my children and I went through made me want to seek a solution rather than being stuck in a rut, not knowing what to do.”Robyn Winther
Jarrod says he’s been following the P-Pull movement for a number of years but decided to take an active role two years ago.
Meth use was widespread amongst his friends and whānau. He used as well but stopped for good a number of years ago after seeing the harm it was causing.
“I hated seeing friends going to prison but what really scared me was the effect on their health.”Jarrod Waerea
Some of his friends had died young of heart attacks which he attributes to their methamphetamine use. Others live with impaired health.
“A few of my friends have had cameras stuck down their throats and the doctors have seen enlarged heart, probably five times the size of a normal heart. So, they’re battling daily,” he says.
Men, says Jarrod, need a safe place to talk about the effect methamphetamine is having on their lives, and the lives of those they care about.
“I believe this is a year of change. Men are becoming more open. Twenty years ago, we never spoke about things like this. It wasn’t cool, it wasn’t staunch. If I can share my story, or listen to someone else’s story, then I feel like I’m doing my part preventing someone, in the future, taking it up,” Jarrod says.
Robyn and Jarrod will be at the Chanel Family Centre, Upper Hutt on the third Wednesday of every month. Everyone is welcome to turn up when it suits them between 10am and midday and are encouraged to stay on for lunch.
“Please come and see us. Come, learn and heal. We’re not there to judge you. Everything is confidential, we have your back and we’re here to help in whatever way we can.”Robyn Winther