The Tu Taua Stand Against P seminar run at Transform in June was a sobering snap shot and informative presentation of how this drug is destroying the communities in which we live.
A group of 35 people from a number of social agencies across the South Waikato district listened to how to recognise people who use. Kevin Hollingsworth from Rotorua presented a board game that resembled a Monopoly board that showed the gateway into using this drug and the pitfalls and perceived benefits someone may have during the process, which may include Court, prison, rehab, and treatment. It was presented not as a drug issue but a mental health issue. When this drug is used it blocks the receptors in the brain so that decision making on any level becomes almost impossible. This substance causes cravings, feelings of giving up, psychological difficulties, social withdrawal, lowered tolerance, paranoia and many others. That throws symptoms of depression, and type 1 Bipolar disorder. Keven shared his story of being a user for 27 years and how it destroyed his life. He is now 8 years clean and working with Police to get the information out to the public about this mental health issue. He has since trained as a councillor and turned his life around and recently got married. The before P and after using P photos of individuals was an eye opener as these beautiful individuals are almost unrecognisable. Kevin showed his own pictures and said he doesn’t even know who that person is. His PowerPoint presentation was very educational about the health and psychological issues facing users and their families.
Greg Clark from the Police lab in Tauranga presented the group with information about how this drug is made and the disturbing news that toxic chemicals from hardware stores are being used to produce this substance. Sadly the kiwi ingenuity of homemade pressure cookers have cost precious lives. These inventions are not found anywhere else in the world. The PSI pressure in them is a bomb waiting to go off.
Everyone got to see how it is packaged for sale in different sized bags and the outrageous price that is being charged for such a small amount. The tools of the trade were passed around to make the social support teams aware of what to look out for when they do home visitations. Trading lingo was also discussed that codes a conversation so not to draw attention to oneself when organising a deal. He showed photos of how this product is being illegally imported into the country in hand luggage, imported goods or on shipping traffic on the ports. He asked for public help to notify police if anyone is suspicious of someone in the community. Saying they need the help of the general public to be eyes and ears on their behalf.
Danny Scott one of our men’s group men took the challenge to share his emotional story about his journey back to recovery – this is still a process he chooses to walk daily. Sharing how even though he was an educated man he still lost everything and felt torn between his kids whom he lost and the desire to get another hit. His journey through the prison system and the hardships he faced there was a powerful testimony of a Putaruru local that gripped the heart strings of all who listened.
The social agencies that attended were all suitably impressed by the seminar and said this information needs to be shared with the general public so more people are aware of the dangers and what to look out for within the community. One agency said that Transform is offering the continued support necessary to see someone to recovery and just knowing that TA is there means people know they have a place to go back to, to get the help they need when they need someone to talk too. This agency said that when their contract is over they don’t have ongoing input with their clients and they feel like they let them down not being available for them in the future.
The morning was finished with a light lunch and plenty of fellowship of what each person took away from the presentation, knowledge they gained and how agencies can collaborate together in the future. This was well worth the effort to host and hopefully Transform can have this presentation delivered to the wider Putaruru community before the end of the year.