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Oamaru police made 19 methamphetamine-related arrests in 2018 and another 12 in the first six months of this year - a significant jump from just one arrest in 2017.
Detective Sergeant Hannah Booth, of Oamaru, said the increase in methamphetamine use in Oamaru was in line with the rest of the country, which was largely due to market saturation.
Det Sgt Booth said police were focused on reducing demand for the drug in Oamaru, rather than targeting the suppliers.
Kelly*, a former addict, said the class-A drug "was everywhere".
The former Oamaru woman was introduced to meth by a family member when she was 18 years old and admits she was not as "street smart" then as she is now, a decade later.
"It changed ... my thought pattern, how I thought, how I did things.
"That turned into a lot of jail and offending."
She started selling the drug to support her habit.
"I have to take responsibility for the part I played, me selling it to somebody. That could've made them not feed their kid that night. That could've made them beat up their partner - because I was the one that sold it to them.
"That [realisation] shocked me and upset me ... if it wasn't me selling it to them, it would have been someone else, but the fact it was me selling it ... I didn't want a part of that."
Now, Kelly kept clean because she was stronger and more willing to ask for help.
"I'm doing good," she said.
Oamaru family lawyer Nicky Sinclair said she had seen an alarming increase in the number of Family Court cases in Oamaru involving methamphetamine over the past two years.
"What I'm really seeing is that meth is taking parents away from their children, really in a way I don't think people can comprehend.
"We need to understand the seriousness of the problem and the impact it has on families; in particular, children.
"As a community we have a role and responsibility to support those parents and families."
Methamphetamine affected not only the user but also their wider family and community, Ms Sinclair said.
"We are seeing the extended family really at a loss of what to do."
At present, the waiting time to see a drug counsellor at the Waitaki Community Alcohol Drug Service was about two months, a spokeswoman said.
The first step for people wanting to get clean was to see their general practitioner, but more resources were needed for mental health services, she said.
*Name changed to protect identity.