Almost a third of middle-aged New Zealanders have tried methamphetamine at least once, according to a new University of Otago, Christchurch study.
The study, the first of its kind to draw a correlation between meth use and violence, has found even those who try meth once are 60 per cent more likely to be involved in a violent incident.
They surveyed more than 1000 people in their 40s and discovered if they've used meth, they're five times more likely to be violent and twice as likely to be a victim of violence.
1 NEWS spoke to a 40-year-old mother of two who is fighting her way back from being ruled by addiction.
"The guy I got on the meth with at the time, he started showing his violent side," she says.
"Abusive, it got to a point where I was scared. He had me by the throat, my face was always crumbled, it was like beaten to a pulp."
It's the first time research has been done on the link between meth use and violence.
"It's commonly believed that methamphetamine makes people violent, but really this is the first time this has been demonstrated in a general population study," psychiatrist Dr James Foulds says.
"What we still don't know is if it's a direct effect of the drug versus being involved in illegal drug markets and all the dangers that come along with that."
The survey showed 28 per cent had tried meth once, 11 per cent used it monthly and 5 per cent used it weekly.
University of Otago, Christchurch researcher Joe Boden says 28 per cent is a "pretty large number" amongst illicit drugs.
"That's the third-highest level of consumption after cannabis and ecstasy."
The former addict shared her story in the hope others wouldn't be tempted to try the drug.
"I nearly committed suicide, didn't want to live no more, just didn't really want to be the person that I was, so it was either me being six foot under or me changing my life."
She's been drug-free for a year now and says she's disgusted she ever used it.
"I will never go back to smoking meth again."