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‘Kick meth out, it’s an abomination’

Thursday June 06, 2019 Written by Published in Crime
Nancy Kereroa-Yorke and husband Daniel Yorke. 19060525 Nancy Kereroa-Yorke and husband Daniel Yorke. 19060525

Nancy Kareroa Yorke has confronted P addiction at its worst.

Kia Orana e te iti tangata. I’m Nancy Kareroa-Yorke, born in Mitiaro, raised in Mangaia and for the early part of my 20s lived, studied and worked in Rarotonga.

I now live in a small coastal town called One Tree Point in the Northland Region of New Zealand.

Northland has a long history with meth, like other parts of New Zealand. And our District Health Board, the Police, the community at large and other organisations have been fighting to make Northland meth-free. A hope for all of New Zealand.

There is much to learn from countries with meth problems, to help keep our home the Cook Islands meth-free. We have the opportunity to put preventive measures in place now rather than the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff approach that other countries have to resort to.

Methamphetamine (also known as meth, speed, P, etc) is an illegal drug. It is highly addictive, and it starts to systematically destroy a person’s health and life from first use.

It is associated with serious health conditions, including memory loss, aggression, psychotic behavior and potential heart and brain damage.

The chemicals to make this drug – ammonia hydroxide, battery acid, drain cleaner to name a few – aren’t meant for consumption. These chemicals burn your insides and it is precisely what happens to users’ internal organs over time.

I’m not sure how meth got into New Zealand, but I imagine it would be something like what is happening in Rarotonga right now. Some selfish pricks who managed to smuggle this rubbish into the country and started distributing and selling it to whomever, including locals.

Fast forward to 2019, meth is an epidemic that has spiralled out of control in New Zealand and other countries. Meth has killed people, destroyed families, crippled and taken advantage of communities.

In Northland, low income and vulnerable families are among meth’s targets. It uses homes as meth labs. Meth affects everyone and it costs the government and other agencies a lot of resources and money because that is what meth does.

Meth is a stimulant. When taken, it fires up the central nervous system to release large amounts of dopamine, a “feel-good” brain chemical. This gives the user a rush of confidence, hyper-activeness, energy and a false sense of happiness. 

When this wears out, users develop a strong desire to continue using and the addiction starts.

Meth doesn’t discriminate and it usually involves some sort of crime to get the stuff, use the stuff and to make more and move the stuff.

My husband Daniel and I know of a business owner that lost his business and his family to his addiction.

 A friend had to separate from her husband, because it had become unsafe for them to stay together because gangs were also involved, and the stories go on.

Meth makes users hallucinate. Users can go without sleep for days. This leaves them feeling agitated, suffering mood swings, and seeing, hearing or feeling things that aren’t there.

In a previous employment, as the Northland Manager for the New Zealand Red Cross, I recall a participant’s story: “Peel me! Peel me! I’m an orange!” is what they called out during their moment of euphoria.

My staff delivers our drug and alcohol harm reduction community course and in another session another person was running for their life, petrified, because “monsters are after me”, they said.

While these may be comical it is also a dangerous state for a sober person to approach to offer help.

Where I can, I want to help keep the Cook Islands away from this abomination.

I am writing to call our people in the Cook Islands and overseas, our Government, to our House of Ariki, our religions’ leaders on each island, to band together and kick meth out.

Meth has no place in the Cook Islands. It can’t. Meth leaves an irreversible path of destruction that we don’t need at home.

Te Kuki Airani to tatou ipukarea, to tatou metua vaine.


  • Comment Link Ana walker Monday, 10 June 2019 21:57 posted by Ana walker

    We were out on the Avana point last week inspecting the site where a couple has a shed built instead of a house. There were 2 boats out in the ocean, one a runabout n the other a yatch. One can clearly see it. I wondered if this is some kinda exchanging operation happening right b4 our eyes. Is there anyone out their to maintain any illegal activities on the hi seas around us

  • Comment Link Tongia Bob Nicholls Paiti Monday, 10 June 2019 05:49 posted by Tongia Bob Nicholls Paiti

    Our small Cook Islands Nation just need tighter Security Boarder and Control systems in place. There will be a large influx of shipping containers arriving in the South Pacific including the Cook Islands, more frequently over the years, as Land Leases are becoming more popular for Resort Developers and the like. These Shipping Containers are just the tip of the iceberg! My family and grandchildren will be moving back to the Cook Islands soon, and if I come across any drug users, drug dealers (whether you are a blood relative or not) or anyone pushing their filth, I will see them as an immediate threat to my family and they will know who we are and what we are about! Well done, Nancy for making our small Pacific Nation aware of this problem. Keep up the great work!

  • Comment Link Gerry Mitten Sunday, 09 June 2019 12:04 posted by Gerry Mitten

    We must takes Nancys warning very seriously, the Government must make it a very high priority to prevent this evil ever getting a grip in the beautiful Cook Island, it would take a terrible toll.

  • Comment Link Salote Saturday, 08 June 2019 11:25 posted by Salote

    Meth is invading the Pacific Islands who have little expertise to respobd adequately to help. It is in Fiji, Tonga and Samoa too.

  • Comment Link Turoto Ngatoko Saturday, 08 June 2019 10:18 posted by Turoto Ngatoko

    How did it get their in the first place...The goverment knows whats going on..yet they do nothing about it...Need to go to the border or customs to fine out whos letting that drug into our land...Do the goverment not understand that our Sons and Daughters Of Rarotonga are at Risk because of this ugly drug...Makes me wonder about you that has the power to stop this ( Goverment )

  • Comment Link Vera Tapena Saturday, 08 June 2019 07:57 posted by Vera Tapena

    This is one of the most important issues that we cookislands people have to take care of for our kids future generations an today it's very crucial to keep them away from drugs thanks to Nancy l love this Kia matutu tatou metua te paruru ta tatou anau auraka kiatomo na roto I teia Tu lrinaki au e vaerua keretitioni to tatou koia to tatou metua Atua Kua oti tatou te apii ia e to tatou pa metua tei moe l roto I toou ngutuare Koe e akamata ai I te ngaki I taau uoorai tamariki no reira e maki maata teia auraka kia tukutukuia, paruruia,apii ia,utuutuia,kia kore ta tatou tamariki e tomo na Roto i teia maki maata meitaki ngao ia koe te tamaine Nancy tei apai mai teia manako puapinga Kia orana

  • Comment Link Alan Friday, 07 June 2019 23:58 posted by Alan

    Meth is a world epidemic like AIDS and is poisoning people. Is why they created the drug . Taste it and see your body rot away inch by inch. Not a normal cocktail. Well said Nancy keep up the great work.

  • Comment Link Kim Hollis Friday, 07 June 2019 12:01 posted by Kim Hollis

    So agree Nancy...it's horrific the harm that meth does to people, families and the community. It changes lives forever :(

  • Comment Link Teokotai Tarai Friday, 07 June 2019 08:51 posted by Teokotai Tarai

    Absolutely. Paruru'ia ta tatou anau mapu.
    Drug use leads on to other behavior, and in that addictive stage our youth become vulnerable, and often this leads to suicide.
    I know that meth doesn't care about age, and I know that I don't live in the Cook Islands, but I love who we are as a people. We cannot anymore say that 'it won't happen to us', because it probably already is. I
    do hope that we can be meth free.

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